Boonville American Legion Thoma-Tuttle Post 52 is not letting COVID-19 take away from their duties to honor veterans during the Memorial Day weekend.
Health care facilities in Boonville also are doing their part to honor veterans by hosting a number of activities in-house due to a state-ordered lock down by Gov. Mike Parson.
The Boonville American Legion and VFW, Veterans of Foreign Wars, will place flags Friday at the gravesites of veterans who are buried at the Walnut Grove Cemetery and Saints Peter andPaul Cemetery.
The city of Boonville Parks Department placed flags at Boonville Memorial Garden and Sunset Hills.
The flag laying is an important thing to do to honor servicemen and women, David Smith, a volunteer and veteran said.
"Wade Davis, a World War II vet, started this with the help of his wife, Gweneth, the late Frank Thacher, Nancy Whalen and other volunteers," he said. "With all of the cemeteries now, we are up to 700 veterans."
The process of placing the flags at the gravesites usually takes most of the morning, former Boonville Mayor Julie Thacher said.
"The flags were purchased by the former VFW No. 4072 of Boonville and the project was expanded to include Saints Peter &Paul cemetery, Boonville Memorial Gardens and Sunset Hills," she said.
Originally called Decoration Day, Memorial Day was established as a day for Americans to honor those who were killed during the Civil War. It wasn’t until after World War I that Memorial Day was expanded to honor those who have died in all American wars.
Memorial Day was declared a national holiday in 1971 and was set as the last Monday in May.
Boonville American Legion Post No. 52 also will hold a ceremony 9 a.m. Monday at the Memorial Center on High Street. It will start with the Pledge of Allegiance, follwed by an official walk around the memorial center, post Commander Jorge Vizcarralagos said. A wreath-hanging will conclude the ceremony.
The event is open to the public but social distancing should be maintained.
"It’s just a very simple ceremony," Vizcarralagos said. "This year we are celebrating our 100-year anniversary. This is one of the oldest American Legion Posts in the country. It was formed shortly after the American Legion was formed."
The original post charter will be 100 years old in August. The American Legion’s primary goal is to care for veterans and to promote Americanism, Vizcarralagos said.
"We want to promote what’s great about America such as freedom and liberty," he said. "It’s the American Legion’s goal to promote that in any way possible by doing ceremonies like this."
The legion also holds flag retirement ceremonies and regularly checks in with community veterans. The legion wants to make sure no veteran is ever in need within the post, Vizcarralagos said.
Boonville businesses will place flags in front of their stores to honor veterans for Memorial Weekend.
Riverdell Care Center, which is one of five health care centers in Boonville, will hold a barbecue on Memorial Day weekend. The center also recently held a carnival, barbecue and other events for residents during Nursing Home Week, activities director Mary Beth Ybarra said.
"We are still under quarantine so nobody can come in," she said. "However, we did a drive by for families on April 26.
The facility took over the pool parking lot to space residents apart as families and Eagles Lodge members drove by.
Hartmann Village in Boonville will hold Memorial Day activities throughout the week, Administrator Gina Twenter said.
"Currently we are still in lock down, but we will have activities associated with Memorial Weekend," Twenter said. "It’s unfortunate because we would normally have a guest come in and speak."
Lakeview Health Care Administrator Shawna Ballenger said the facility there will have a barbecue on Monday.
"It’s really tough because we have to keep people six feet apart and it’s hard to get people together when families can’t come," Ballenger said.
Bristol Manor will have games on Sunday and a barbecue on Monda Administrator Brenda Adkisson said. Meanwhile, at Ashley Manor, Activities Director Mary Lee Reuter said the center will do something small on Monday.