Rotary Club Explains Postponement Decision

May 8, 2020

Editor, The News-Gazette

Our most important response to Major Nesslage’s letter to the editor on May 4 is to affirm that the Lexington Sunrise Rotary members have the greatest respect for the service and sacrifice made by our military on behalf of our country.

Our club would not make a decision that would intend to diminish the honor we pay to our military veterans on Memorial Day. It was with significant consideration and no little disappointment that our board decided to postpone our club’s Field of Memories event this Memorial Day weekend. Rockbridge Area Hospice participates in the event by providing significant technical support, but Lexington Sunrise Rotary alone is responsible for any decisions concerning the nature and timing of the event.

There were three primary reasons for the board decision:

First, the decision to postpone was made on April 20 in the midst of state-issued guidelines precluding any events where proper social distancing of workers or visitors likely could not be properly carried out. Removing several hundred flags from a trailer, laying off a field grid, pounding in several hundred iron flag supports, affixing memorial cards to the flags, and having a closing ceremony is not consistent with current medically recommended and state required guidelines. Rather, the board deemed postponing this event consistent with the myriad occurring event cancellations and establishment closings, including the canceling of the public downtown Lexington Memorial Day celebration.

Second, the impact of our Field of Memories rests entirely on a large display. Our board did consider, and decided against, a small display with no closing ceremony determining that it would not be a meaningful tribute to those gone before.

Third, there has been some criticism from the military community that Memorial Day is a remembrance exclusive to military veterans, and our event is open to nonmilitary flag memorials as well. Our board’s intent was to add to the memorial celebration, not to dilute it. So, sensitive to this criticism, our board decided it might be best to hold a general memorial event at another time. Labor Day was chosen.

For these reasons our board is reaffirming our decision to postpone until September, hoping that then we can once again provide a full, fitting memorial.

LAWRENCE ORME,

Secretary, Lexington Sunrise Rotary Club

The News-Gazette

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