Honoring those who died in the service of our country is at the heart of Memorial Day. Its origins trace back to the Civil War and involved decorating the graves of soldiers who fought and died in what some have called the central event in America’s historical consciousness.

Honoring the dead has been a challenge with the COVID-19 pandemic. Around the world people are facing limitations unlike any we have known in the care of persons who have died, not just from the pandemic, but during it. Coming together in familiar ways of encouragement to honor the life of one we have loved and lost is not responsibly possible, so we are finding creative virtual ways of remembering and comforting for now.

Big Bend Hospice, which is known for its bereavement care, is offering a Virtual Memorial Day service this year to pause and remember those who have died in service to our country. This sensitive program, acknowledging all branches of the military with beautiful music and carefully selected words, invites us to call to mind the loved one(s) we are remembering with appreciation for who they were and for what they sacrificed.

As the veteran liaison at Big Bend Hospice, I invite the community to join us for a virtual Memorial Day service filmed in our Veterans Memorial Garden at the Jean McCully Family House. Visit our website or follow us on Facebook on or after Monday, May 25 to view. You might consider a virtual gathering with your family to share the viewing so that it becomes more personal to the intimate circle of the one(s) being remembered.

Michael Douglas, the veteran liaison for Big Bend Hospice, can be reached at 850-556-0229 or mzdouglas@bigbendhospice.org. In operation since 1983, it is a private, nonprofit 501(c)(3) hospice provider serving Franklin as well as Leon, Gadsden, Liberty, Madison, Jefferson, Taylor and Wakulla counties. Their mission to inspire hope by positively impacting the way our community experiences serious illness or grief, one family at a time. For more information, please visit www.bigbendhospice.org