BURRILLVILLE – A virus could not stop town veterans from honoring those who gave the ultimate sacrifice on Memorial Day 2020, and a small gathering that followed the rules of social distancing was streamed online for those who couldn’t be there.
Burrillville Allied Veterans Council American Legion Posts 17 & 88, and VFW Post 1023, held their annual Memorial Day services on Monday, May 25, with local veterans and guest speakers gathered on Chapel Street.
Post 88 Commander Raymond Trinque led the service, explaining that before deciding to limit crowds at the yearly event, organizers questioned if they should hold a service at all amid statewide efforts to curb spread of Covid-19.
“We decided that we had to,” Trinque said.
Flags were lowered in honor of lives lost in service at American Legion post, and a chair was left empty as a reminder of prisoners of war and those missing in action.
Sen. Jessica de la Cruz was among Monday’s speakers.
“Today we remember America’s fallen heroes,” de la Cruz said. “They aspired to start families, work hard and live full lives. They made untold sacrifices.”
“Nobody can replace our fallen heroes, especially in the eyes of their families,” she noted.
In keeping with a time when a global pandemic has changed America’s way of life, de la Cruz also made mention of soldiers who served during a period where diseases, such as yellow fever, also took many lives.
“These men and women could have isolated themselves in their homes, but they knew there was a job that needed to be done,” she said. “Let us live up to their sacrifice.”
Rep. David Place said that when thinking of those who died in service, he often asks himself the question “What if?”
“How many would have been scientists and entrepreneurs? How many would have been coaches and public servants?” Place said. “What if they were not lost for ever?
“They are not here because a grateful nation needed them elsewhere,” Place said. “We must live up to the opportunities they have given us.”
The short service included failure of some audio equipment, but undeterred participants yelled so all could hear.
Town Councilor Dennis Anderson gave a passionate delivery of the Gettysburg Address.
“A virus and technical difficulties cannot put a stop to our ceremonies,” said Trinque.
The full ceremony can be seen here.