CHAGRIN FALLS, Ohio — From Mentor to Elyria, communities all across Northeast Ohio held parades and ceremonies to honor the sacrifices of those that have made freedom possible. While some Memorial Day ceremonies were more scaled back than those in pre-pandemic times, the ceremonies this year provided a glimpse into the transition between our new normal and the old one.
The Village of Chagrin Falls observed Memorial Day with the traditional ceremony at Evergreen Cemetery, which featured the timeless tributes by the VFW, DAR, and American Legion. Although the day’s festivities did not include a parade for the second straight year because of the pandemic, a crowd of 300 guests was allowed to attend.
The limited capacity was only made possible recently after state health orders expired. The slight glimpse into ‘how things used to be' made for a more captive audience, said Bob Royer of VFW Post 12067 Chagrin Falls.
“I think this year there was more reverence shown to the folks that have given their sacrifice to their country. It’s always patriotic,” Royer said. “I think they dove a little deeper this year.”
The slight return to pre-pandemic life is an obvious departure from the reality of everyday life over the past 15 months. Memorial Day services in 2020 were greatly reduced or canceled altogether. Some communities held their ceremonies and tributes virtually last year as Ohioans were focused on ‘flattening the curve.’
One of the tools that organizers in Chagrin Falls used last year with success was also carried over to 2021.
“One of the big differences here last year was the live-streaming,” Royer said. “It allowed people all over the world to see. Out of a lot of terrible times, there’s usually something that comes out of it that is positive.”
Monday’s Memorial Day festivities come as one of the state’s most concentrated vaccination efforts is winding down. The mass vaccination site at the Wolstein Center, which has administered more than 255,000 doses of the vaccine since March, will conclude on June 7. Those that receive the first dose of the vaccine at the Wolstein Center this week will receive their second dose at a Discount Drug Mart pharmacy location.
The Wolstein Center mass vaccination site is open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.