BELFAST – The Belfast Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3108 held its annual Memorial Day Services Monday morning to honor fallen veterans; however, modifications had to be made this year to adhere to COVID-19 restrictions.
Although changes were made, attendees of the services still thought it was important to pay their respects.
“This year is a whole lot different because we couldn’t have the parade,” VFW Operations Manager Jim Roberts said. “We usually have a number of people lining the streets as we march through with our colors. We usually have between 25 and 30 members in the parade, but this year we had to modify the numbers because of the COVID-19 epidemic.”
The VFW held two services this morning. The first one took place at the VFW in Belfast and included a 21 gun salute, the playing of T.AP.s, and laying of the wreath. Carmine Pecorelli, a 94-year-old World War II, Korean War, and Vietnam War veteran, had the honor of laying the wreath.
“We’re showing our gratitude for those who served and those who are lying in foreign graves,” Pecorelli said.
The second service followed at Grove Cemetery. The Patriot Riders and active-duty members of the U.S. Coast Guard joined in the ceremony. Members of the public were also invited to watch from a safe, social distance.
“It’s important that we remember every year and reconnect the American population with the men and women who died while serving the armed forces, protecting our freedoms and our rights,” retired U.S.M.C. Colonel Duncan Milne said.
Many of the normal memorial day festivities were canceled disappointing some.
“I’m really missing the fact that we’re not gonna have a parade because it really shows community support when everybody has the opportunity to come out and enjoy the different floats and spectacles that they put together,” Patriot Riders of America Maine Chapter Secretary Tammy Sweetland said.
Although the celebrations were different this year, Pecorelli said that it is not what’s important.
“What’s important to me is the spirit and the dedication of those that are there. It isn’t the quantity of people, Pecorelli said. “Those that do show up like that, they really have, I believe a deep sense of gratitude.”