Hundreds watch Fort Jackson’s virtual Memorial Day ceremony

Hundreds watch Fort Jackson’s virtual Memorial Day ceremony

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Military bases across the country have been forced to cancel in-person Memorial Day ceremonies and but the virus didn't stop Fort Jackson from honoring the men and women who died fighting for our country.

The annual ceremony was held at Centennial Park with only a few dozen people in attendance. While it wasn’t open to the public, hundreds tuned in on Facebook Live to pay their respects to fallen U.S. soldiers. Fort Jackson’s 282nd Army Band played music, and the ceremony also included the raising of the American flag and a 21-gun salute.

“If you are viewing this virtually, you are revealing the character of our nation. You are revealing the aspect of your character that will not allow you to forget. This aspect of your character won’t allow you to forget those that paid the ultimate sacrifice to defend our nation," said Fort Jackson Commanding General Milford Beagle Jr.

Lieutenant Colonel Jason Dudley says Fort Jackson was determined to carry out the annual ceremony. “All of the men and women that have gone before us and unfortunately lost their lives protecting our freedom, they deserve us to keep that tradition going and keep honoring them," Dudley explained.

The virtual event also allowed people from across the country to take part. Greg Forrest lives in Florida and his son Alex will graduate from basic training at Fort Jackson this week. “It made me feel like I was more part of where he was and what he’s been doing. It was fantastic. I hope they don’t stop once COVID ends," Forrest said.

While to some, the holiday marks the unofficial start to summer, Fort Jackson leaders ask that everyone take time to pause and remember the sacrifices made for our freedom. “Let this Memorial Day and every day be a day that the sun rises and shines on our fallen. Victory started in them, but it lives with us, which is why we say victory," said Beagle.

The South Carolina Department of Veterans also asked the community to take the pledge to #GoSilent for a moment at 3 p.m. Monday to remember those who died fighting for our country.

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