QUINCY — The Memorial Day program at the Illinois Veterans Home isn't just considered a commemoration for the residents and staff at the home but for the whole community.
Typically attended by hundreds, the program features a keynote address and speakers as the campus pays tribute to those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.
With ongoing restrictions for gathers because of the COVID-19 pandemic, plans were adjusted to offer the program at five locations on the campus, including Lester Hammond Hall, Friday, after several weeks of planning. All staff and residents were asked to observe social distancing during the program.
"We wanted to do something creative that we can still recognize, remember and reflect on the sacrifices that's been made for us," said Veterans Home Administrator Troy Culbertson. "We've looked for a way to include all the residents and staff that are able on site."
The ceremony featured a horse-drawn caisson and riderless horse were escorted to the buildings by drumbeat. A patriotic reading and a prayer were offered before a wreath was placed by a resident and taps was played.
The American Legion Post 37's Honor Guard provided a rifle salute in front of the Old Administration Building as the caisson passed the sunken garden area.
"It will allow our residents and staff on this weekend to remember and reflect rather than just go to a barbecue," Culbertson said.
In the midst of the ongoing pandemic, he said being asked to stay at home doesn't compare to the sacrifice servicemen and servicewoman have paid.
"Our sacrifice pales in comparison to theirs still," Culbertson said.