VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – The crowd at the Tidewater Veterans Memorial Park in Virginia Beach was much smaller than normal Monday. People had to find a different way to celebrate Memorial Day.
For two hours Monday morning, there was a service unlike any other.
“It’s an honor to be here to help honor our fallen heroes and all of those who serve us in military uniforms around the world today,” Bishop E.W. Jackson said.
“America thinks that Memorial Day is just another day to grill out,” added retired U.S. Army Lt. Col. Dan Gade. “I think that’s the wrong temptation.”
The event was organized by the Virginia Tea Party, Virginia Beach Tea Party, Tidewater Libertarian Party and the Common Ground Coalition.
It was done over Zoom.
“The ultimate sacrifice, for it not for you, we would not be here today living free in the greatest country in the world,” said retired Navy Capt. Ben Loyola.
No matter whetherit was in-person or over the internet, the messages were just as important.
“In my 10 years of active duty flying helicopters, I went to more funerals than I would like to remember,” added retired Navy Cmdr. Jen Kiggans. “On more than one occasion, the service was more memorial instead of a funeral. A memorial for those bodies who rested beneath the waves still strapped to their seats.”
George Lutz lost his son in Iraq in 2005. Tony, a Virginia Beach native was a corporal in the Army.
“I realize that Memorial Day is a chance for Americans to stand up and remember, but I want you all to understand that Memorial Day is not necessary for our fallen families,” Lutz said. “Every day is Memorial Day. There is not a day that goes by where they don’t think about their loved ones.”
There was a moment where the internet intersected with the outside world at the Virginia Beach memorial.
“We honor the men and women in the armed services, our police officers and our first responders,” said state Sen. and retired sailor Bill DeSteph.
The moment included the laying of a wreath and playing taps.
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