Most parades and services honoring fallen servicemen and women have been canceled due to COVID-19 restrictions, but that doesn’t mean the meaning of Memorial Day has been lost or forgotten.

“Services in most places might be canceled, but this is only temporary,” said Huntingdon resident Jay Buchanan, who served in the United States Marine Corps and is now active with the Standing Stone Detachment of the United States Marine Corps League and other local veterans’ organizations. “Memorial Day is just one day to mark the patriotism and heroism of those who died in wartime. Patriotism isn’t a day, it’s a lifestyle.”

Buchanan reminds folks that patriotism isn’t just standing when the flag passes, but remembering and being grateful for those men and women who sacrificed their lives and for their families who supported them and were without their fathers or mothers all those years.

“It’s sad we can’t celebrate today, but it doesn’t mean we can’t carry on and be true patriots and show signs of gratitude all year long,” he said.

He also urged folks to commemorate the day, despite canceled gatherings.

“We can certainly do things to commemorate the day, simple things like flying the flag and pausing at (the time a parade or service was scheduled to begin) to remember the importance of the day,” he said. “When things are safe, visit a military site like the Wall that Heals in Altoona or visit a military cemetery,” he said.

Canceled services

As announced two weeks ago, Huntingdon’s annual Memorial Day services and parade scheduled for Monday, May 25, have been canceled. Ray Shipp also reached out to The Daily News to announce the cancelation of services at the McConnellstown Cemetery. Services at the Trough Creek Bapist Cemetery have been canceled, as well as the Cassville Cemetery services and those at Cherry Grove Cemetery in Three Springs and the Madden-Wennick American Legion in Orbisonia.

All services in the Broad Top region have been canceled, as well.

Services planned

Memorial Day services will still be held at the Old School Baptist Church/Cemetery in Three Springs. Services will begin at 10 a.m. Seating will be available inside the church. A loudspeaker system will be outside the church so that those choosing to remain outside or in their cars will be able to hear the entire service.

The Rev. John Hodge, pastor at Calvary Independent Baptist Church, McConnellsburg, will serve as the guest speaker. Hodge has a diverse background in religious ministry/counseling as a high school principal/teacher and a military career. He has a Ph.D in education administration and two masters degrees. He joined the Ohio National Guard at age 17, entered active army service in 1957 and served in Hawaii in the 25th infantry division and with the 104 Long Range surveillance detachment Pennsylvania National Guard.

Special music will be offered by Katelyn and Kara Harper. Taps will be played at the conclusion of the service. All are welcome.

Services will also be held at the Saltillo Cemetery at 11 a.m. Monday, May 25. The Rev. Dan Long, pastor of Calvary Independent Baptist Church, Saltillo, will serve as the guest speaker.

Alternative observances

In Saxton, leaders did not want the day to go without recognition.

In honor and remembrance of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice, churches will ring the bells for 3 minutes at noon Memorial Day, Monday, May 25, in Saxton and surrounding areas.

The event is co-sponsored by Watson & Black American Post 126 in Broad Top City, American Legion Post 169 in Saxton, Captain Phillips Post VFW Post 4129, American Legion Post 556 in Six Mile Run, Saxton Borough Council and the Broad Top Ministerium.

In the Juniata Valley region, folks are encouraged to join in a citizens remember parade Monday, May 25. The parade will leave the baseball field in Petersburg at 10:45 a.m. Monday, going through town and making a loop through the cemetery. The group will then head to Mooresville, where they will follow the traditional Memorial Day parade route.

AristaCare at Woodland Park in Orbisonia also plans to honor its veterans with a Memorial Day parking lot parade Monday, May 25. Festivities will begin at 2 p.m. and participants will remain in their car as they enter the parking lot at 18889 Croghan Pike from the Sandy Ridge Station parking lot. Staff will direct motorists.

Becky can be reached at


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