Memorial Day

A flag flies over a veteran's grave on Memorial Day in Sunset Hill Cemetery in 2019. Ceremonies for this year's Memorial Day have been canceled due to the pandemic.

VALDOSTA — For the first time, the traditional Memorial Day ceremony at Sunset Hill Cemetery will not be held, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Valdosta’s American Legion post normally organizes the event. Monday, the post’s executive committee voted, via teleconference, to cancel the ceremony and all of the usual Memorial Day activities, including placing flags on veterans’ graves, said Rod Pedersen, the post’s commander.

“The committee voted to follow (Gov. Brian Kemp)’s latest proclamation and follow the guidelines he established for the pandemic,” Pedersen said.

The post was established in 1923, and the commander said he believes some sort of Memorial Day observance has been held ever since.

“I’ve been with this post for 16 years, and there’s been a ceremony in Sunset Hill Cemetery every year,” he said. “We look forward to doing this … and we look forward to seeing it return in the future.”

Both Valdosta and Lowndes County government offices will be closed Monday for observance of Memorial Day.

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