MOUNT VERNON — The Patriotic Memorial Committee found an alternative way to memorialize and honor our veterans after the governor announced further restrictions in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, canceling the 2020 Memorial Day Parade.

“Celebrating Memorial Day is very important. As we navigate our current situation and the need to cancel events due to social distancing requirements, it was important to us to find a way to still honor those who died serving our country. I am so thrilled that that the Patriotic Memorial Committee, working together with the Knox County Veterans Service office, has found a way to give the gratitude due. Thank you to all who made this incredible presentation so moving and offering the respect we feel in our hearts,” said Parade Chair Linda Oviatt.

The committee, with the help of many, organized dates to record local talents, the Jr. ROTC essay finalists, Veterans Services and others, to create a one-of-a-kind recorded program to be released on Memorial Day, Monday, at 9 a.m.

“The current circumstances we’re in this year simply do not allow us to experience the parade, fanfare, and live ceremony, so our community needs to look at Memorial Day in a new light,” said Mayor Matt Starr. “It’s my hope that we all can rediscover the true purpose and meaning of this special day when we take time to remember and honor our fallen service men and women.”

The 30-minute program consists of special music from local performing artists and highlights the thought provoking essays from Knox County Career Center Jr. ROTC finalists Noah Hagner, Steven Kollas, Harrison Lingel, Shyla Rizzo and Wyatt Wagner.

“The student involvement is always a popular part of the program and we have been able to capture that sentiment and preserve it for years to come through this production. It’s a very different ceremony this year and we are confident that we have expressed the essence of what Memorial Day means,” said Kevin Henthorn, Knox County Veterans Services Executive Director.

The Memorial Day tribute will be released on the city’s website at


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