HIGH COUNTRY — In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, annual Memorial Day events, such as the one hosted in Boone Mall and the one in Blowing Rock’s Memorial Park, have been canceled, but the relevance and importance of the day itself has not changed, according to the regular hosts of local Memorial Day events.

The Boone Mall Memorial Day event was established 13 years ago “to honor our veterans, primarily those who have given their lives for our freedom,” said Lt. Col. (Ret.) George Brudzinski of the High Country Chapter Military Officers Association, which hosts the event at Boone Mall.

“Our MOAA chapter is disappointed that the program cannot be conducted this year, but we encourage all citizens to remember our military men and women who are no longer with us,” Brudzinski noted.

The American Legion, which hosts the Memorial Day event in Memorial Park of Blowing Rock, also canceled its event due to COVID-19, according to Jennifer Brown, Blowing Rock’s Parks and Recreation Department director.

However, the American Legion announced on its website on April 8 that it encourages families of fallen service members to share the veterans’ information with the organization to participate in its Virtual Memorial Day, which is set to take place May 23-25 on American Legion’s Facebook and Twitter.

According to its website, necessary information to participate includes:

• The service member’s name, along with the submitter’s relationship to the service member

• Year entering and year leaving the military

• Branch of service

• American Legion membership, if not KIA

• A photo of the service member, either in uniform or civilian clothes

Additional information about the American Legion’s Virtual Memorial Day can be found at https://bit.ly/36clvFs.

Taz Kim, a member of Watauga County’s chapter of the Disabled American Veterans, said that she plans to observe Memorial Day by remembering four veterans that she’s met in Watauga County who have passed away.

“I’m going to make a brownie and put a candle on it to remember them and their birthdays,” Kim said, adding that “taking action” for a veteran, such as mowing a lawn or hanging an American flag, speaks louder than a quiet observation of the day.

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