Rogersville's Memorial Day service incorporates COVID-19 safety

Jeff Bobo • May 20, 2020 at 8:30 PM

ROGERSVILLE — Downtown Rogersville will host its annual Memorial Day service Monday on Town Square, although there will be some changes to this year’s event due to the COVID-19 virus, and there will be no keynote speaker.

Also absent will be local NJROTC students who carry the colors and raise the flag, but event organizer Dennis Elkins told the Times News that the service will feature most of the other traditional observances.

“We're not doing a keynote speaker which would create more of a situation than they're allowing us to do down there,” Elkins said. “We're also asking everyone to stay spread out and help take care of each other. We'll be out there in front of the courthouse as usual, so there should still be plenty of room for everyone to spread out and still be able to attend and honor our fallen soldiers.”

The event is scheduled for Monday, beginning at 11 a.m. in front of the Hawkins County Courthouse. The intersection of Main Street and Depot Street will be closed to traffic for the event.

Elkins, who is commander of Rogersville's America Legion Post 21 will serve as event master of ceremonies, introducing the participants.

The Rev. Tecky Hicks will provide the opening prayer, followed by the posting of the colors and lowering of the flag to half-staff by Post 21 representatives James Weart and Bill Hamilton.

The national anthem will be sung by Cherokee High School student Morgan Hunter, and the Pledge of Allegiance will be led by VFW Post 9543 Commander David Evans.

Reading of the names of Hawkins County's fallen veterans will be conducted by former American Legion Post 21 Commander Catherine Groff and a Post 231 representative to be named later. Those names can be seen in the online version of this article at www.timesnews.net.

Flowers will be placed on the fallen soldier monument in front of the courthouse by members of Post 21 and Post 231, followed by a rifle salute by the Hawkins County Color Guard; and Echo Taps performed by VFW Post 9754 Commander James Vaughn.

“We want to thank our city and county officials for allowing us this opportunity to hold our service at our Veterans Memorial downtown on main street Town Square in front of the courthouse,” Elkins said. “We regret that our NJROTC students from Cherokee and Volunteer high schools will not participate in this years’ program. Our community and veterans are welcome and encouraged to attend this service. The streets will be blocked off, but we will not be furnishing any chairs to sit in. If you attend this service, you will have to provide your own seat.”

Elkins added, “We will be honoring all of the guidelines that are in effect at the time of this program on the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. We need to ask all who attend this service to follow these guidelines also, including 6 feet social distances, no more than 10 people to a group. We have plenty of room for everyone to space out so they will be safe. If you can’t come to this service, please remember all of the men and women that paid the ultimate sacrifice for you and I on Memorial Day. “

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