PSU’s Memorial Day Ceremony turns virtual due to COVID-19 and social distancing requirements
The experience may have been different but the meaning was still the same
PITTSBURG, Ks. – Honoring those who served looked a little different for Pittsburg State University this year. The school typically holds a large ceremony at the Veterans Memorial for Memorial Day.
“The veterans memorial is an important part of the Pittsburg State campus and our being able to have ceremonies for veterans and memorial day are something that has really become part of our culture at the university. So as soon as COVID ramped up, I think we saw the writing on the wall that it would not be smart whether it was legal at the time or not, it would not be smart to have a large amount of people on campus” said PSU Veterans Memorial Advisory Committee Chair, Jon Bartlow.
So they decided to reimagine the ceremony by prerecording it and showing it on their social media platforms instead.
“This was our best attempt to not let a very important date go by. We knew we needed to recognize Memorial Day, we just weren’t exactly sure how we were going to do it” Bartlow added.
The ceremony included everything it would have normally, the history behind memorial day, the fallen comrade table, the tradition of acknowledging the installation of new pavers and the playing of the National Anthem, Amazing Grace and ‘Taps’.
“It gives more people the opportunity to view the ceremony again because of the weather and the virus but then also on Memorial Day people like to stay home, enjoy a family BBQ, or just relax and to have it available for everyone to watch again I think was a real positive thing” said Keynote Speaker Tony Perez.
Perez served in the military for 22 years. He says although the virtual ceremony was a different experience, the meaning behind it is still the same.
“I did some research on Kansas and on that wall there’s over 635 names of people from Kansas that died in Vietnam and 5 in Crawford County which is the county that we’re in. That brought it right down to home, they were neighbors, they were friends, I think it’s important to remember people and it’s a special day to do that remembrance.”
And it allowed them to reach a bigger audience online with more than 900 views of the ceremony from people all across the United States.
“It gave us an opportunity to try something different and so I think that’s the silver lining to a lot of what’s going on with COVID-19, when you’re forced to do things, sometimes you can discover ways to be more creative” added Bartlow.
You can still view the virtual Memorial Day ceremony by going here.
Image was taken from the virtual Memorial Day Ceremony video.