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Veterans’ Memorial Day celebration cancelled to protect public health

ALPENA, Mich. — In terms of holidays, coronavirus has altered typical Easter, and Cinco de Mayo celebrations and will undoubtedly have an impact on Mother’s Day. Alpena residents can also get ready to add Memorial Day to the list.

Director of Alpena County Veterans’ Council, James Potrykus, says the council has made the difficult decision to cancel Memorial Day festivities in the area.

“It’s really with a great deal of sadness that we have to do that because to me the memorial day ceremony is the highlight of the year to give thanks to all the veterans that paid the greatest sacrifice, their life, for this country.”

Typically, celebrations are held at the Alpena County Courthouse and at Little Flanders Field. While the festivities were halted to protect the health of veterans and residents, Potrykus says he would still like to see those who have gone before us, honored in some fashion.

“I think displaying an American flag at your house is like the first good step to take on Memorial Day. And if you can go and visit, if you have a family member that’s in a cemetery, if there isn’t a flag out there, purchase one and place it at the grave.”

The council is hoping to continue honoring veterans in a more traditional way next year.