Memorial Day tribute in Mobile soldiers on, online

Mobile County

MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — It was a Memorial Day unlike any the country has had before. Dozens of veterans groups held smaller, online tributes to military veterans. A member of the South Alabama Veterans Council says fallen veterans deserve more than what COVID-19 restrictions could allow. Instead of being there in person, most took part in a Memorial Day observances through the obscure lens of a smartphone camera.

“We don’t want to just give them lip service or just a wave we want to give them their due and do it the right way, it’s important for our country our way of life, it’s why we’re free,” said Retired Navy Commander Pete Riehm with the South Alabama Veterans Council. COVID-19 restrictions meant the South Alabama Veterans Council had to hold their Memorial Day observance with 10 people or less, groups like a color guard, rifle squad and boy scouts had to stay home.

“If people can gather in Walmart and Target, this is a 20-acre open-air cemetery, it’s a little annoying we can’t allow our folks to come out there,” said Riehm. “We do what we have to do but now it’s time for serious thought and debate about how to carry on and what makes sense and what’s prudent.” Organizers say it was important to have this ceremony even if they couldn’t do it the way they have for decades, to honor the fallen.

“They were put in situations where the only choice was victory, do their job even if it meant the ultimate sacrifice,” said Riehm.

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