Kelly Cemetery

American flags wave in the breeze at the graves of John L. Shinkle, a World War II U.S. Army veteran, and Walter C. Shinkle a Korean War U.S. Army veteran, Sunday evening at the Kelly Cemetery. Each year, members of the local American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars chapters and members of the community place flags at the graves of veterans to commemorate their service and pay respects to lives lost.

Veterans often continue traditions quietly.

With little fanfare they visit the graves of fallen comrades, from the main Aspen Hill Cemetery to the smaller ones scattered around the valley. They plant small American flags into the soil, the bright banners standing sentry over the remains of soldiers.

This Memorial Day dawned quieter than most.

Early rising veterans gathered at American Legion Post 43 and walked down to Town Square.

Careful to avoid drawing a crowd amid the pandemic, Post Commander Joe Burke and a handful of fellow vets flanked the sparkling new granite monument that bears more than 800 names of those who served.

They read proclamations from politicians, turned to salute the flag and Judge Tim Day played taps.

Although Memorial Day exists as a somber occasion to recognize people who died in service to the country, in Jackson as the unofficial start to summer it’s often bookended by a parade, crowds and merriment.

Amid a global pandemic that has claimed 100,000 souls in 2020 in the United States alone, it seems more important than ever before to pay tribute to our fallen soldiers, those who laid down their lives for our country.

In the months ahead, veterans hope to be able to hold a dedication event for the new monument downtown in George Washington Memorial Park. Legion members want to return to a formal ceremony in uniform each Memorial Day and Veterans Day to honor surviving or late brothers and sisters in uniform.

As upside down as the world seems today, many of these brave men and women have seen and endured much worse.

And some gave all.

They are never forgotten.

This editorial represents the opinion of the News&Guide’s editorial board: Johanna Love, Rebecca Huntington, Kevin Olson and Adam Meyer.

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