ST. LOUIS COUNTY ( -- Several annual Memorial Day ceremonies will take on a different form this year, as officials worry social distancing guidelines will be too difficult to abide by.

Officials with the Missouri Historical Society decided in April the annual Memorial Day Ceremony at Soldiers Memorial would be cancelled, according to Mark Sundlov, the Director of the Military Museum.

"The reality of it is we just thought it was too dangerous," Sundlov said. "To have all of the people we care about, like friends and family congregating like that is not safe."

The society had plans to unveil a new memorial in its Court of Honor, designed to honor St. Louisans who died in the line of duty after 1975. The names were engraved last summer, following the museum's three-year, $30 million renovation project completed in 2018.

Instead, the historical society is releasing three videos on its Youtube channel, explaining the history of Soldiers Memorial and stories behind the thousands of names in its Court of Honor.

READ: Memorial Day ceremonies go virtual amid pandemic

“Memorial Day is a good day to pause and reflect on those that have made the ultimate sacrifice," Sundlov said.

At Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, the Boy Scouts will not put flags at each grave. Family and friends are encouraged to place their own flags and flowers at gravestones. Additionally, the annual wreath-laying ceremony will take place, but will not be open to the public.

Many people spent Saturday afternoon visiting the cemetery to pay their respects. 

The Hoskin family visited a late relative who passed away a few weeks ago. Amid the pandemic, it was the first time the family was able to visit the grave.

"Our Papa recently passed in the last few weeks and we were able to find his grave site and let him know that we know where he is," said Ashley Hoskin.

Hoskin brought her three children along with her, creating a learning experience for her three boys.

"They need to know that a lot has been given for them to be able to live every day," she said.

Calvin Williams, 11, said he enjoyed learning about his family's history.

"I learned that, I didn't really know, that my whole family served in the Army," he said.

"I think it's actually fun because we can find people's parents that sacrificed their lives to save others," Jedidiah Williams, 8, said.

Copyright 2020 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved


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