While the COVID-19 pandemic is keeping The Colony’s annual Memorial Day Remembrance Ceremony from taking place this year, organizers are making sure the fallen are not forgotten.
Members of the American Legion Holley Riddle Post 21 in The Colony, came up with the idea for a Memorial Day video message for the community. Local videographer Dan Halyburton produced it.
The five and a half minute video, narrated by Post Commander Richard Ensweiller, describes past remembrance ceremonies while paying tribute to the local fallen heroes.
The ceremonies have traditionally taken place at Five Star Complex, but because of social distancing requirements from COVID-19, the event has been canceled for the first time in at least 10 years.
Mary Garcia, honor guard commander for the post, helped come up with the idea for the project.
“Initially we were going to have a two-minute message,” Garcia said. “But once we got started we kept adding more to it. There is a lot more in our hearts that we want to share with The Colony community, so that’s what drove us.”
The video includes pictures and video clips of past year’s ceremonies.
“Our whole inspiration was, what can we do to help people remember these moments?” Garcia said.
She recalls the different parts of the ceremony, such as the traditional flag folding, the rifle volley, the bagpiper giving final honors and the ringing of the bell after the name of each fallen veteran has been read.
“Can this video help people reminisce when they hear the commander talk about the sequence of events that happen at the ceremony?” she said.
Patricia Zuczek, post adjutant, said the video’s message is likely to hit home in a community like The Colony, which has more than 2,000 veterans.
“There are several families in The Colony that are Gold Star families, meaning they’ve lost someone in combat,” Zuczek said. “They were at the ceremony last year, and being there reminds you of the sacrifice members of The Colony and other communities have made for our country.”
Garcia said having a ceremony this year would have been especially important.
“We’ve had four post members pass away since our last ceremony,” Garcia said. “We’re heartbroken that we can’t be there to ring the bell for them this year.”
At least not at the traditional ceremony. Representatives from the post were scheduled to participate in a reverse parade Friday to honor the city’s seniors and to observe Memorial Day.
Still, they hope residents can use the video as a way to reflect.
And while a public ceremony won’t be an option this year, another opportunity for reflection is.
“We just want our community to know that their deceased veteran loved ones or friends are not forgotten,” Garcia said.