Memorial Day in Durango felt a little different this year, with scaled-down events because of the coronavirus outbreak. But a handful of veterans were able to honor military personnel who died serving their country.
A memorial dedication was held Sunday at Living Hope Calvary Church, said Fred Riedinger, service officer for the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post No. 4031 in Durango.
Early Monday, a dedicated crew hung American flags along Main Avenue in downtown Durango around 5 a.m. They will be taken down around dusk. It’s a tradition that has gone on since 1945, Riedinger said.
About 10:30 a.m., a ceremony and rifle salute was held at Greenmount Cemetery. Though the event was not publicized, about 20 people attended in support.
“We wanted to honor deceased veterans, but we didn’t want a crowd to gather,” Riedinger said. “So whoever showed up heard about it by word of mouth.”
Despite the disruption the coronavirus has caused in nearly every facet of life, Riedinger said the VFW has been able to offer services to veterans in need.
The VFW provided medical supplies, such as wheelchairs and other equipment, and monetary assistance, as well as food and gas cards. A line of communication has also been established to maintain contact during a time when people have been advised to stay at home.
“We provide assistance no matter what’s going on in the world,” Riedinger said.
Around 11 a.m. Monday, another short ceremony was held on the pedestrian bridge that crosses the Animas River near Rotary Park. A prayer was said and a wreath was placed in the river to honor military personnel who have died.
The Colorado National Guard flew helicopters across the state Monday to salute Colorado residents who died serving in the military, as well as to honor emergency responders aiding in the COVID-19 response.
A flyover was expected around 11:30 a.m. Monday in the skies above Silverton. A similar flyover occurred May 14 in Durango.