Memorial Day weekend 2020 in the Lehigh Valley: Virtual ceremonies and other events paying tribute

 lehighvalleylive.com  05/23/2020 11:02:55   Pamela Sroka-Holzmann |

Memorial Day honors those members of the U.S. Armed Forces who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

Originally known as Decoration Day, Memorial Day originated in the years following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971, according to a report on History.com. Many Americans typically observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries or memorials, holding family gatherings or participating in parades.

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, however, the majority of weekend tributes, ceremonies and commemorations are being conducted virtually. Others are being conducted by area American Legions and other veterans groups without the public.

Gov. Tom Wolf extended the shelter-in-place order for statewide counties in the red phase, including the Lehigh Valley, until June 4. The governor on April 22 outlined a three-tiered approach, color-coded by red for the current, most restrictive approach to yellow and, finally, green.

The public is asked to continue keeping at least 6 feet away from others not part of your household and to wear masks when social distancing is impossible, including during all commerce.

The following activities are planned to mark Memorial Day in Allentown, Bethlehem, Easton and elsewhere in and around the Lehigh Valley.

American Flag

Northampton County

The following are Memorial Day events scheduled throughout Northampton County:

Easton

The 121st Anniversary Memorial Day Parade has been canceled. The Easton Memorial Day Council, however, has postponed its flag pole dedication ceremony at Easton Riverside Park to a later date.

Forks Township and Tatamy

The annual Memorial Day Service typically held at Braden Park, corner of Uhler Road and Bushkill Drive in Forks Township, has been canceled. At noon Monday, May 25, Tatamy Borough officials plan to read the names of veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice on the Doughboy Monument in front of the municipal building, 423 Broad St. A bell will ring after each name is read. The public is asked to watch the brief ceremony over a broadcast on the boroughs Facebook page.

At 1 p.m. Monday, a parade will march through the borough gathering all first responders, as well as employees of the public works department and elected officials.

Bangor and Roseto

At 10 a.m. Monday, May 25 starting at Bangor Veterans Memorial Park, there will be a Memorial Day procession, including the Columbia Fire Co., various Bangor Fire companies and the Blue Valley Rescue Squad followed by members of the the Martocci-Capobianco American Legion Post No. 750, Veterans of Foreign Affairs Post No. 739, and Emily H. Evans Post No. 739. State Sen. Mario Scavello, R-Monroe/Northampton, as well as Rep. Joe Emrick, a Republican whose 137th district covers portions of Northampton County, will join the tribute.

The procession will proceed to St. Johns cemetery for a 21-gun salute, playing of taps, singing of the national anthem and a prayer. The procession will then move to the Roseto Presbyterian Cemetery on Liberty Street and the Catholic cemetery adjacent to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church. The public is asked to view the tribute from their home porches and/or visit the cemeteries with the procession to pay respects to those who gave the ultimate sacrifice. All guests at the cemeteries must adhere to proper social distancing.

Bethlehem

A virtual veterans writing workshop and the 10th season of the Our Hometown Heroes display honoring men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces highlight the 10th annual ArtsQuests Memorial Day Celebration on Sunday, May 24 to Monday, May 25. The ceremony and all related Memorial Day programming will be available at steelstacks.org.

More than 130 banners featuring photos of 1,300 Lehigh Valley residents who served in the military currently are displayed as part of the Our Hometown Heroes celebration on First and Second Streets and Founders Way of the ArtsQuest Center at SteelStacks campus.

The public will have a chance to drive through the campus or walk by the banners -- following proper social distancing guidelines and any other health and safety regulations enacted by the city and state. The banners also are being displayed online for the first time ever, said ArtsQuest spokesman Mark Demko.

From 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday, May 24, the Women Veterans Empowered and Thriving and ArtsQuest will offer veterans and their families to engage virtually in a writing and storytelling workshop designed to explore grief, loss, anger and other emotions. Demko said the goal of the workshop is for participants who have experienced loss to express what Memorial Day means to them. Guests can register for the event at womenveteransempowered.org.

At 3 p.m. Monday, May 25, a Time to Remember Memorial Ceremony will kick-off on the SteelStacks Facebook page. The event plans to include the singing of the national anthem and God Bless America by Stacy Gabel, a 10-time Lehigh Valley Music Awards winner. The Lehigh Valley Gold Star Mothers plan to read the names of all Lehigh Valley residents who have died in service to their country.

Speakers include ArtsQuest President & CEO Kassie Hilgert and Dave Lobach, president, CEO and chairman of Embassy Bank. ArtsQuest will also host a screening of a Memorial Day-themed PBS film on the ArtsQuest Memorial Day website throughout Monday.

Memorial Day 2020

Memorial Day 2020

Hellertown

A Facebook Live Memorial Day Service is planned for 2 p.m. Sunday, May 24 at the Union Cemetery of Hellertown, 85 Main St. The event is organized by the Edward H. Ackerman American Legion Post No. 397. Guests can watch the tribute by liking American Legion Post No. 3972s Facebook page.

Northampton Borough

The Northampton Joint Veterans canceled the annual Memorial Day Service at Northampton Plaza. A brief memorial service will take place Monday, May 25 at various cemeteries throughout the borough. The tribute will include a Call to the Colors, playing of Amazing Grace and taps, as well as a rifle salute. Cemeteries include: Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Cemetery; St. John the Baptist Ukrainian Catholic Cemetery; Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Ukrainian Orthodox Cemetery; and Our Lady of Hungary Cemetery. Social distancing guidelines must be adhered to at the cemeteries.

The Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, Captain Theodore H. Howell Camp No. 48 also will not be performing its usual tribute at the various memorials, churches, and cemeteries as in past years. A three-member color guard will offer a prayer and a single gun salute on Monday, May 25. Meets at the following cemeteries: Fairview Cemetery at 8 a.m., Siegfried Memorial Plot, W. 21st St. (across from CVS) at 8:30 a.m.; G.A.R. Memorial Plot, Lincoln Avenue and Dewey Avenue, at 9 a.m; Allen Union Cemetery, at Fourth and Main streets, at 9:30 a.m.; St. Johns United Church of Christ in Howertown at 10 a.m.; Horners Cemetery, Nor-Bath Highway (next to EAT Ambulance Station at 10:30 a.m.; St. Peters (Snyders) United Church of Christ at 11 a.m.; Emmanuel Church at 11:30 a.m.; and Christ Little Moore Church (between Klecknersville and Rockville) at noon.

Upper Mount Bethel Township

A drive-by Memorial Day parade is planned from 12 p.m. until 2 p.m. Monday, May 25 at the township municipal building at 387 Ye Olde Highway.

Fire trucks, police cars and other vehicles will be lined up in the parking lot. The public can drive by the motionless parade with flags-a-waving and sirens-a-blaring. Township supervisors plan to hand out two hot dogs, a bag of chips, a bottle of water and a Memorial Day poppy. One bag of goodies per person and all attendees are asked to remain in their vehicles.

The township usually hosts Memorial Day services with neighboring Portland Borough. Portland Hook and Ladder trucks will be at the parade, along with trucks from Mount Bethel Volunteer Fire Co. and North Bangor Fire Co. The parade also plans to feature East Bangor police and state police, who will salute any veterans who attend the parade.

There will be a color guard from the local American Legion, VFW rifle corps and leaders from the local Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts. Elected officials from Bangor, Portland and the state will be in attendance. The townships road crew vehicles will also participate. All groups in the parade will be separated to maintain social distancing.

West Easton

Residents are asked to gather throughout Monday, May 25 at the War Memorial Park, Spring and Center streets, and pay respects to those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Guests are asked to practice proper social distancing guidelines.

Williams Township

Members of the Williams Township Veterans Committee are planning noon Monday, May 25 to read the names of 15 area veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice over the townships website. A bell will ring after each name is read. The public will be able to view the reading over video.

Memorial Day 2020

Memorial Day 2020

Lehigh County

The following are Memorial Day events scheduled throughout Lehigh County:

Allentown

A drive-in fireworks show will be hosted by the Lehigh Valley IronPigs starting at 9 p.m. Saturday May 23 at Coca-Cola Park. Guests must arrive at Coca-Cola Parks parking lots by no later than 8:30 p.m. for the show. Guests also must stay inside vehicles for the duration of the event. Tickets are $10 per car but are sold out. A second Drive-in Fireworks event has been scheduled for Saturday, June 6. Visit CocaColaParkEvents.com for tickets to that event. No tickets will be sold at the venue. Attendees will be able to listen to fireworks music at 9 p.m. via WLEV-FM 100.7.

Zions Reformed UCC Liberty Bell Museum is presenting a pre-recorded Patriots Sunday service featuring the 6th Pennsylvania Regiment, to be posted Sunday morning for the public to watch on the museums YouTube page.

Memorial Day 2020

Memorial Day 2020

Macungie

The 72nd annual Memorial Day Ceremony and Parade held traditionally at Macungie Memorial Park, 50 N. Poplar St., has been canceled. The Macungie Veterans of Foreign Wars Memorial Post No. 9264 instead has replaced the grave flags this year on all veteran grave sites in the Macungie area.

Warren County

The following are Memorial Day events scheduled throughout Warren County:

Blairstown Township

The annual Blairstown Memorial Day Parade in canceled. The Givens-Belet Post No. 258 American Legion instead is planning a service at noon Sunday, May 24 at Cedar Ridge Cemetery, 117 Route 94. The tribute includes the playing of taps and a few brief words by guest speakers. A small group attending will be asked to properly social distance.

Greenwich Township

The annual Memorial Day Parade traditionally starting at the intersection of North Main Street and Willever Way in the townships Stewartsville section has been canceled. Instead, American flags are being placed in cemeteries, as well as the hanging of Hometown Heroes banners for 49 area veterans. Charlie Henshaw, member of the Mecsey-Bishop American Legion Post No. 456, said the banners are planned to hang from Memorial Day weekend to Veterans Day on Nov. 11, 2020.

Phillipsburg

On Monday, May 25 Mayor Todd Tersigni is telling the public over Facebook not to be alarmed by noise and activity on various streets. The town will be honoring fallen heroes in a planned tribute throughout the day.

Other events:

The Pennsylvanias Music Preservation Society has canceled its Great Pennsylvania Music & Arts Celebration at the Allentown Fairgrounds. Instead, a 35- to 40-minute streaming event will encourage Lehigh Valley residents starting at 2:30 p.m. Monday, May 25 to venture onto their porches or lawns while maintaining safe distances, carry American flags, and wave to neighbors to wish them well. A national minute of silence will begin at 3 p.m. followed by a listen of taps and other music on mobile devices.

Additionally, there will be patriotic music by Lehigh Valley-based performers; messages by Lehigh County Executive Phillips Armstrong and Northampton County Executive Lamont McClure Jr. addressing the importance of community connections; and an expression of gratitude for nurses and physicians, as well as first responders. The names of area healthcare workers and first responders who have died also will be read. Lehigh Valley Military Affairs Council President Maj. Gen. Gerald Still will pay tribute to deceased military who made the ultimate sacrifice.

The Pennsylvanias Music Preservation Society is partnering with the Lehigh and Northampton county executives; the Lehigh Valley Military Affairs Council; and WFMZ-69 News to offer the community-wide event.

Riegelsville, Bucks County

The annual Memorial Day Parade hosted by the American Legion Post No. 950 has been canceled. The Legion Post No. 950 Honor Guard instead plans to visit an area cemetery and the cemetery at Durham Lutheran Church in Durham township. There, they will conduct a tribute ceremony, which will include the playing of taps.

Memorial Day 2020

Memorial Day 2020

What did we miss?

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Pamela Sroka-Holzmann may be reached at pholzmann@lehighvalleylive.com.

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