DALLAS - Memorial Day events across the country are being canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Here in North Texas, 2,000 volunteers were set to place flags on all of the headstones DFW National Cemetery on Sunday.
This will be the first time since 2012 that every headstone at DFW National Cemetery will not have an American flag to mark Memorial Day.
“They all deserve a flag,” Anita Sayas said.
Memorial Day weekend felt different at DFW National Cemetery.
Families still came to visit their loved ones on Sunday, but the cemetery just didn’t look the same.
“It’s disappointing. It’s the only reason we exist as a company. It’s disheartening,” Morrison Fussner said.
Fussner, a Marine veteran, started Flags for Fallen Vets when he found out multiple national cemeteries did not put flags on graves for Memorial Day.
In 2012, that changed at DFW National Cemetery, and years late at cemeteries around the county.
Because of the coronavirus, Fussner said the VA told them the more than 2,000 volunteers could not place flags this year.
“You see everyone out there, especially young kids, that what we really love to see. Parents taking them out and teaching them what the day is all about,” he said.
Three sisters went to visit their father’s gravesite Sunday. Air Force veteran Chester Edward Bochenko died last year
The sisters put flags on their father’s grave, and on the graves of the men and women around him.
Says said she was shocked to hear that some headstones would go without flags this year.
“Had I known, I probably would have stopped by every store on my way here and bought every single flag I could find,” she said.
Some see Memorial Day as an extended weekend and the unofficial start to summer, but for many families, it’s a weekend to honor those who served and died.
Lora Johnston says that while this is a unique time for our country dealing with the coronavirus, she thinks our country will bounce back.
“No matter what seems to get thrown at us, from anybody, we are one, we are America strong,” she said. “We have these guys to thank for getting that ball rolling for us, we are forever thankful.”
The Memorial Day ceremony at DFW National Cemetery has been canceled.
Fussner said his group is urging people to join them in having a unified moment of silence instead.