COVID-19 changed the way we can honor veterans who have died

Military funeral changes

MONTEVALLO, Ala. (WBRC) - COVID-19 has changed the way we can honor those who have served our country and died.

The care and responsibility to military families who have lost loved ones remains the same at Alabama’s National Cemetery in Montevallo.

“We are dealing with COVID and we were not expecting to have that this year. Even though it’s changing a way of life, we are committed to our veterans," said Steven Weir, Director of Alabama National Cemetery.

But the traditions of memorial services for veterans are on hold. While burials have continued at the National Cemetery, based on CDC guidelines families are only allowed to watch from a distance. Memorial services and military honors including a service member playing taps or rifle salute are postponed until further notice. Staff say at veterans they want to honor each hero, but have to make sure they can do it safely.

“We understand this is probably not what the family is expecting and I do understand that, but this is the best option in preventing the family of getting sick with the virus,” said Weir.

Staff at the cemetery say there is no timeline set on when they will bring back some of the traditional parts of military funeral services. Families who buried a loved one without a memorial or military honors will be able to schedule those services once the cemetery gets clearance.

In the meantime, an app has been launched to commemorate those who have died. It’s called the Veteran Legacy Memorial and you can share your veteran’s story on it. Families are able to share the legacy of their loved one who was a veteran to allow their story to live on.

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