Despite pandemic, Winooski still honors veterans

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WINOOSKI, Vt. (WCAX) There will be no Memorial Day parade in Winooski on Monday, but veterans and community members are still carrying on with one major tradition to honor fallen soldiers.

Melissa Sallee and her family have close ties to the U.S. military. The family joined other members of the Winooski community in honoring veterans this Memorial Day Weekend by placing new American flags on the graves of fallen soldiers and other war veterans.

"We have two sons going into the military," Sallee said. "One in, one almost in, and we made sure to reach out to the VFW when we moved here."

Robert Laumore, the commander of the Winooski VFW Post, says plans had to change this year due to the pandemic. The VFW had to cancel their parade and barbecue that they host every Memorial Day but knew they couldn't give up placing the new flags. Laumore is thankful he can still see his fellow vets this weekend, too.

"This year will be a lot different compared to what we usually do like we usually have our parade," he said. "There's about five or six of the members here at the post that will be taking part in the flagging of the St. Stevens and St. Francis Cemeteries."

While veterans and community members wish they could do more for Memorial Day, Sallee believes this year's holiday is more important than usual.

"So it doesn't feel like less even though it's different this year," she said. "I think it's even more important because a lot of us are realizing what freedom means right now with so many restrictions."

A tradition that still holds true today of veterans and community members showing appreciation to those that gave the ultimate sacrifice to preserve our freedom.