Poland community overcomes pandemic challenges to hold special Memorial Day service

Local News

For the first time in 91 years, the Memorial Day ceremony was held virtually

POLAND, Ohio (WYTV) – Monday was a Memorial Day unlike any before. With so many services moved virtually or canceled altogether, honoring those who paid the ultimate sacrifice wasn’t done with large crowds or parades. Still, some overcame the challenges presented by the pandemic to pay their respects.

In Poland, the day is typically celebrated with packed services and a parade, but it was done a little differently this year.

“We had to tie all of them in together this year, try and just make it work,” said Jeff Vrabel, district commander for the Sons of the American Legion.

The ceremony was held in front of a limited audience. Plus, for the first time in 91 years, it was held virtually so that those who wanted to attend but are practicing social distancing could still take part from home.

But that wasn’t the only challenge to overcome.

“It was difficult this year. The county could not order us our flags for the cemetery, but luckily through the community, VFW Post in Akron and the Austintown American Legion, we actually got together enough flags to put in all three cemeteries in Poland,” Vrabel said.

Over in Vienna, Memorial Day services were canceled.

“We’ve had a parade and a memorial service and everything for as long as I can remember and I’ve been here 73 years. So, I said we gotta do something,” said Vietnam Veteran John Goodworth.

Goodworth and fellow Vietnam Veteran Jeff Dreves took it upon themselves to hold their own.

“As long as a veteran shall survive, they will render proper, respect,” Dreves said.

It was their way of making sure the fallen are not forgotten.

“So we can say the chain isn’t broken, we still had a service in 2020,” Goodworth said.

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Mel Robbins Main Area Middle

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