San Marcos honors fallen soldiers through virtual Memorial Day ceremony

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Rebecca Harrell

U.S. Flags sit near the Hays County Veterans Memorial, Monday, May 25, 2020, on the corner of Hopkins Street and Riverside Drive in San Marcos.

Brianna Benitez, Life and Arts Editor

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of San Marcos honored servicemen and women who lost their lives serving the country through a virtual Memorial Day ceremony May 25.

The yearly event, usually taking place in-person at the Hays County Veterans Memorial in San Marcos, was moved online due to precautions over the spread of COVID-19.

Lisa Morris, Veteran Affairs Advisory Committee staff liaison, said although having a virtual ceremony was not the ideal situation, she hopes the community takes a moment to view the ceremony and reflect on the lives lost.

“As always Memorial Day is a day of reflection—a day to honor those veterans who lost their lives on behalf of our country,” Morris said. “I hope our public will take a moment to reflect on the sacrifices and appreciate what we have in our country today in terms of our freedoms and safety.”

The ceremony was broadcasted on Spectrum Ch. 10 and Grande Ch. 16. at 10 a.m. and was shared to the Community Services Facebook page and the City of San Marcos YouTube channel.

Mayor Jane Hughson led the ceremony with an introduction highlighting the significance of Memorial Day and the history behind the national holiday.

“Memorial Day is a day of remembrance—a day to reflect upon the sacrifices of the men and women who have given their lives to protect our country and our freedom,” Hughson said. “It’s a day of patriotism and a pride that we should instill in our future generations so they too can understand that freedom is never free.”

Pastor Chad Chaddick of First Baptist Church in San Marcos followed with an invocation; Caitlin Hagerty of San Marcos High School sang the National Anthem; Miles Nelson of the U.S. Marine Corps recited the Pledge of Allegiance. The names of fallen Hays County service members from different war eras were then read.

A red, white and blue Memorial Day wreath sits in front of three flags at the Hays County Veterans Memorial.
The Hays County Memorial Day ceremony usually takes place at the Hays County Veterans Memorial in San Marcos but was moved online due to precautions over the spread of COVID-19. (Rebecca Harrell)

Rena Bissett, who served in the U.S. Air Force, read the names of fallen soldiers from WWI. Jude Prather, who served in the U.S. Army, read the names from WWII.

The names of fallen soldiers from the Korean Conflict were read by U.S. Navy veteran John Minyard. Army veteran Michael Hernandez read the names of fallen soldiers from the Vietnam War.

Ben Kvanli, Veteran Affairs Advisory Committee member, then read the names from the Desert Storm War, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.

The ceremony concluded with a performance of Taps by Gabriel Ortiz of San Marcos High School.

Prather said although the community was not able to commemorate Memorial Day through an in-person ceremony, it was important to create a video to showcase their appreciation to the men and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice.

Individuals who would like to visit the Hays County Veterans Memorial and pay their respects to fallen service members may do so but are advised to follow social distancing guidelines.

To view the video, visit the City of San Marcos YouTube channel or the Community Services Facebook page


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