Safety concerns over coronavirus has canceled many events over the past two months across Illinois, and now it has struck down Memorial Day services in most Effingham County communities.
Effingham and Altamont are trying to observe Memorial Day safety with either reduced services or a show of respect for local veterans. Other villages and towns in the county will observe Memorial Day with displays of flags along streets or on veteran graves, but no public ceremonies.
Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1769 will hold a brief Memorial Day service at Oak at the Hoffman grave on the morning of May 25. Attendees are reminded to follow COVID-19 safety measures, including wearing masks, social distancing by being at least 6 feet apart and washing or sanitizing hands after touching surfaces.
Altamont has canceled its annual Memorial Day Parade and services at the Union Cemetery, however, there will be flags flying and bells peeling in that city for veterans on the holiday.
Altamont traditionally hosts a Memorial Day parade followed by a ceremony at Union Cemetery. Unfortunately, the current pandemic has prevented the events from continuing this year. The parade, conducted by the Masonic Lodge 533 of Altamont, has received a directive by the Grand Lodge of Illinois to cease all events in the month of May. The VFW Gieseking-Schwerdtfeger Post 7676 of Altamont has determined for public safety to abstain from a Memorial Day service. However, the display of American flags at Union and St. Clare Cemeteries and Main Street will continue as usual. The American Legion Grobengieser-Fischer Post 512 will place flags at veteran’s grave sites.
The city of Altamont also encourages local churches to ring their bells at the normal parade start time of 10 a.m. on Memorial Day. On this Decoration Day, residents and businesses are called to join in displaying red, white, blue ribbons, streamers and more in remembrance of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for their country.