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Pandemic concerns change Memorial Day observances

Photos by Madeline Scarborough Matt Reusser, a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Motorcycle Group, the Ohio Chapter 5108 and Wilda Horton, Ronnie Davis’ significant other, lay a wreath at Davis’ gravesite to honor him on Memorial Day. (Photo by Madeline Scarborough)

PARKERSBURG — Memorial Day Weekend for 2020 was unlike those of the past.

There were no parades in Wood County, most events had to be cancelled and many restaurants are still not opening their dining halls due to coronavirus concerns.

Public pools were not open and many parks were still closed to the public, leaving many people to remember those who have fallen and enjoy the weekend in the privacy of their own homes.

Although many normal activities were cancelled, people did still make their way out to honor fallen military in whatever way possible.

The Veterans of Foreign Wars Motorcycle Group, the Ohio Chapter 5108 were among those people.

The Gold Star Memorial in Vienna, although not closed to the public, saw very little foot traffic, as people stayed in for Memorial Day due to coronavirus concerns. (Photo by Madeline Scarborough)

“We came out today to pay our respects to Ronnie Davis,” said Matt Reusser, a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Motorcycle Group.

Davis passed in July of 2019. He served two tours in Vietnam from 1967-1969 as a Navy Seabee, serving many different roles and receiving numerous medals.

According to Reusser, Davis not only was a life member of VFW Post 5108, but he was one of the original founders of the chapter in 1991.

Davis also served at the local, district and state levels in the VFW, and was one of the first 11 veterans to be inducted in the Washington County Veterans Hall of Fame.

“There were so many events cancelled, but the chapter agreed we wanted to get out and honor the fallen for Memorial Day, so we rode out to lay a wreath and a flag light at Ronnie’s grave site,” said Reusser.

Tomlinson Park in Williamstown was closed Monday, and saw no family gatherings or events for the weekend. (Photo by Madeline Scarborough)

Reusser said for many of the 48 members, the ride to the Riverview Cemetery in Williamstown takes an hour and a half.

“Following this we will grab lunch together then head home, but it was nice to get some wind therapy in today and get the chance to honor Ronnie,” said Reusser.

Although the gates were open, the picnic shelters at the Veterans Park near the Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Airport were still closed to the public. Tables were stacked up and the park held no Memorial Day gatherings. (Photo by Madeline Scarborough)

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