The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted numerous local gatherings and events, from the canceled Aggieville St. Patrick’s Day Parade to Easter celebrations.
With Memorial Day coming up Monday, Manhattan officials say services at city cemeteries will also see changes.
The American Legion Post 17 plans to conduct their typical ceremony in a different fashion due to public health and safety concerns, pending weather. Their modified service will start at 9 a.m. at Sunset Cemetery and last up to 20 minutes. First Vice Commander of the post Kirk Meyer says it will include a prayer, volley and traditional playing of “Taps.”
“Keeping everyone safe is our goal,” Meyer says.
Attendees are asked to abide by state and local health guidelines, maintain six-foot physical distancing and wear face coverings “as they feel appropriate.”
Cemetery workers have been preparing both Sunset and Sunrise Cemetery grounds for the holiday with decreased staffing. Sexton Mike Mohler says Manhattan’s hiring freeze due to COVID-19 budget impacts has prevented them from bringing in additional help to maintain the more-than 120 acres of land.
“We’re working hard to make sure the grounds are well-maintained and everything looks beautiful,” said Mohler.
VFW Post 1786 is also holding a service at Valley View Cemetery just outside of Manhattan at 11 a.m. KMAN will stream the service live on Facebook.