Some frustrated by lack of public Memorial Day ceremony at Port Hudson cemetery
PORT HUDSON - With no formal ceremony at Port Hudson National Cemetery this Memorial Day, families took the commemoration into their own hands.
"My girlfriend's parents are buried here, and she comes every year for it and we're also out visiting friends. We have some friends who are buried here, so we're gonna put some flags on their graves," Robert King said.
On any other Memorial Day, every single gravestone would have a flag placed on it, but today it's just a handful.
"They always have some sort of salute and celebration. But nothing's going on, and that hurts my heart. That upsets me," Melissa Leachman said.
All of the national cemeteries across the country decided to follow CDC guidelines and cancel any formal ceremonies for the day in order to enforce social distancing. But some families are confused as to why that is.
"I'm very upset about it because this is America," King said. "They should be doing it. I mean, we're out in the open, sunlight, and it's really disrespectful to me for these people who gave their lives for this country."
Leachman said she shared that sentiment.
"You know it is really meaningful and for them to not have any flags out here, to not have the celebration for people to come together... We could still practice social distancing. I mean there's an entire cemetery here. There's so much room," Leachman said.
That's why it was important to so many today, even through the rain, to make sure their fallen friends and family received the respect and gratitude they deserve.
"You know for some people it's just a day off work. But for us, I mean, we come out here and it means something to us," Leachman said.
There was a private ceremony in the morning, not open to any members of the public, where cemetery directors played TAPS and raise flags.