Memorial Day weekend is coming up and Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry intends to keep the meaning for the holiday in focus, even if the city has to commemorate the day with social distancing measures due to the threat of coronavirus.
While many cities have cancelled planned events, Jacksonville will hold a “virtual Memorial Day observance” online Monday. The commemoration of U.S. armed services and fallen military personnel will still take place as an official city event. However, the ceremonies will be shown on video via the city’s Youtube channel and on Jacksonville’s social media platforms.
The observances will feature viewings beginning at 8 a.m. Monday and will include songs from the children’s choir Voices of Jacksonville, Jacksonville Pipes & Drums and Navy Band Southeast. There will also be a wreath laying ceremony honoring the fallen at Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Wall outside TIAA Bank Field where names are listed of 1,700 men and women from Jacksonville who served in the armed forces.
“This year’s observance is notably different than how Jacksonville normally honors our heroes on this sacred day,” Curry said. “As our city and communities throughout America work to recover from the COVID-19 crisis, we must still pause and reflect on those who lost their lives in service to our nation. Jacksonville will never forget their sacrifice.”
Jacksonville’s military memorial is made of granite and is the largest military memorial outside of Washington, D.C. It also is the only veteran’s memorial that honors all six branches of the U.S. armed forces.
The virtual Memorial Day commemoration comes as multiple other events have been cancelled in Jacksonville over the holiday weekend due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Most notably, the annual Jazz Festival that normally envelopes most of downtown and draws tens of thousands of people, was scrapped because of the pandemic.