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Stealth ceremony honors veterans during Memorial Day observance at Indiantown Gap National Cemetery

Intelligencer Journal - 5/26/2020

Efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19 forced the cancellation of traditional Memorial Day services around Lancaster County, but a small wreath laying ceremony went ahead Monday morning without the public at Indiantown Gap National Cemetery.

While the annual observance at the veterans’ cemetery north of Anville typically draws a standing-room only crowd, this year’s Memorial Day event was witnessed live by only about two dozen people, including roughly 10 members of the media, a handful of groundskeepers, a small honor guard, and some cemetery representatives.

“As a result of the Covid pandemic, our Memorial Day services have been adjusted this year. However these changes do not diminish the respect and gratitude we have and hold in our hearts for those brave men and women we are honoring today,” said Lisa Pozzebon, executive director for cemetery operations for the Veterans Affairs National Cemetery Administration.

Speaking through a blue facemask, Pozzebon offered a traditional Memorial Day call to reflect on the sacrifices of military veterans through the nation’s history.

“Contemporary world history has been shaped and molded by the tens of millions of American veterans who have put their lives on hold to wear the uniform,” Pozzebon said during the 19-minute program that included a rifle salute and the playing of Taps and was livestreamed on the cemetery’s Facebook page.

After delivering her remarks, Pozzebon helped cemetery director John Spruyt place a Memorial Day wreath on a stand in the center plaza of the memorial which evokes a roofless, war-torn building with half-built walls.

While the Indiantown Gap Cemetery attracted a steady stream of cars with people doing their own observances Monday, the specific time the Pennsylvania Veterans Memorial ceremony was kept secret and arriving cars were screened to limit crowds that might contribute to the spread of COVID-19. Typically held at 2 p.m. the Sunday before Memorial Day, this year’s ceremony took place at 10 a.m. Monday.

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Crédito: CHAD UMBLE | Staff Writer