Due to the COVID-19 situation, the annual Red Wing Memorial Day Observance in East Bay Point Park has been canceled this year, the Red Wing Memorial Day Association announced.

“The welfare of the citizens of Red Wing and all our volunteers in these difficult times are our main concern,” said Daryl Duden about the difficult decision to cancel. “As chairman of an organization that was founded on June 3, 1908, whose mission is to ensure our veterans are honored and not forgotten, it breaks my heart.”

Duden said the only thing that makes it acceptable to him to miss the Memorial Day event is that the nation is in another kind of war today.

“This time it is a virus that has already claimed more American lives than the Vietnam War,” said Duden, a Vietnam veteran.

Even though there will be no program at East Bay Point Park on Memorial Day, the association plans to decorate veterans’ graves in Red Wing cemeteries.

The smaller cemeteries such as Calvary, Burnside, and St. John’s have enough volunteers, but Duden said the association still needs extra volunteers at Oakwood Cemetery. Anyone who wishes to help decorate the cemetery should meet at the flagpole in Oakwood Cemetery at 9 a.m. Saturday, May 16.

“We will have all the flags to decorate graves waiting there and should be able to practice social distancing to cover the entire grounds at Oakwood Cemetery,” Duden said.

Duden said the Memorial Day Association thanks all volunteers for being an important part of each observance, and he added that the association plans to hold observances on Memorial Days in the future.

“Our event draws a large group of people who understand why we have a Memorial Day,” Duden said. “They take time out of their long weekend to spend an hour with us remembering. These are people we want to keep safe. They remember.”