In spite of a pandemic, the local veteran’s organizations intend to publicly remember the sacrifices of the men and women who gave their lives in the service of the country at a ceremony on Monday.


“There won’t be any special speakers, no bands,” said Jerry Thompson, Commander of the Veterans firing squad for the American Legion and member of the Kewanee Veterans Council.


A community meal, held annually on Memorial Day, and hosted by the Weir family has also been cancelled.


Normally, an area high school band provides the music for a ceremony held with an audience inside the Legion hall, and guest speakers include local dignitaries that include members of the Kewanee City Council.


Instead, the service will be a small ceremony and the names of about 50 veterans who have passed away over the past year – from June 1 to May 25 – will be read aloud.


One tradition that won't change is the placing of American flags on the grave sites of area veterans. On Friday, dozens of volunteers will meet and travel to area cemeteries to place about 2,500 to 3,000 flags at the resting places of area vets.


Thompson said that over the past several months, because of COVID-19, there have been fewer requests for military funerals. He estimates the veterans’ groups have only attended about four this year.


But even with the threat of the virus, Thompson said it's important to read the names of the veterans who have passed and to recognize their sacrifice to the country.


“I’m not asking the public to come out,” he said. “It’s up to them.”


If the public does plan to attend the service, Thompson is asking attendees to practice social distancing and wear a mask if necessary.


“I think that’s the right thing to do,” he said.


The service will begin at 11 a.m. on Monday, May 25 , at the Veterans Park located at Kewanee City Hall.