A pair of military veterans navigate the hilly, meandering paths of a historic Boston cemetery, searching for soldiers’ graves and placing American flags in front of them.
About 10 miles away, dozens of other veterinarians and volunteers are doing the same, placing more than 37,000 small flags in the center of Boston Common. It is a sea of red, white, and blue to symbolize all of the Massachusetts soldiers killed in action since the Revolutionary War. This is an annual tradition that makes a full return this year after the restrictions related to the pandemic.
COVID-19 restrictions are completely removed in many places. For this reason, in Boston and elsewhere, this holiday weekend will feel like something closer to the old Memorial Days.
Vets Helping the Public
““This Memorial Day almost has a better feeling” said Craig DeOld, a 50-year-old retired captain in the Army Reserve. He took a breather from his flag duties at the Fairview Cemetery earlier this week. “We’re breathing a sigh of relief that we’ve overcome another struggle, but we’re also now able to return to what this holiday is all about — remembering our fallen comrades.
Art delaCruz, a 53-year-old retired Navy commander in Los Angeles leads the Veterans Coalition for Vaccination. He said; “His group is encouraging inoculated veterans to volunteer at vaccine sites”. He continued; “We understand it’s a personal choice. For this reason we try to meet people where they are”. He is also president of Team Rubicon, a disaster-response nonprofit made up of military veterans.
There’s no definitive tally for coronavirus deaths or vaccinations among American military vets. But Department of Veterans Affairs data shows more than 12,000 have died. In addition, more than 2.5 million of vets have been inoculated out of the roughly 9 million veterans enrolled in the agency’s programs. (continue reading)