SCOTTSVILLE — Gathered in the Scottsville Pavillion on Sunday, a small group of veterans and town officials marked Memorial Day a little differently this year.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the typically large wreath-laying event was forgone for a smaller and quiet one.
Led by members of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8169, the annual wreath-laying event pays tribute to those who died while serving their country. Several wreaths are placed at the Scottsville Veterans Memorial, and in a typical year, the event is punctuated by speeches from veterans.
However, this year Post 8169 could not hold the event the same way, in part because of Gov. Ralph Northam’s order forbidding gatherings of more than 10 people and in part because of the age of the post’s members, according to Jim White, post commander.
“Most of our members are older than 50 and many have health issues that put them in a higher risk category for catching the virus,” White said. “But virus or not, it was important for us that we still hold this ceremony.”
Instead of dozens gathering and placing wreaths, just a handful of people were present this year to place four wreaths.
White, Senior Vice-Commander Woody Gunther and Quartermaster Jimmy Christian walked together to place the first wreath, delicately laying it to the right of the monument before saluting.
Along with Scottsville’s mayor, mayor-elect and chief of police, among others, the participants placed their wreaths beside the memorial, before quietly paying their respects and leaving.
All together, the ceremony lasted just a few minutes — far shorter than usual, according to White.
The wreaths will remain by the monument until Tuesday morning, White said, at which point they will be picked up by those who placed them and saved for next year.