Celebrating Veteran’s Day amidst the coronavirus

The U.S. flag waves aboard the U.S.S Lake Erie. Rhk11 via WikiCommons

Although many events have changed, veterans can still be honored

Veterans Day this year will be celebrated, like many other things, in a very different way. Most events to recognize the holiday across Orange County have been canceled, or some like the Veterans Day Ceremony and Car Show in Huntington Beach were not even scheduled.

After eight months of ongoing battles with COVID-19 and heated political unrest in the United States, nearly every holiday and month has been affected. In-person events are not recommended while virtual events on platforms like Zoom have become the new norm for major holidays and events like Easter, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas. 

Veterans Day is a time for all Americans to thank those of our country who have sacrificed everything for the country’s freedom. Originating as Armistice Day on Nov. 11, 1919, the day honored the one-year anniversary of the end of the first World War. Becoming a national holiday in 1938, Veterans Day acknowledges both living and dead members of the military but places emphasis on veterans who returned to the U.S. after serving.

This year, planned events will mostly occur virtually, but there are still some occasions to gather while maintaining social distance. 

One ongoing event will be Handy Park in Orange, hosting its sixth annual Orange Field of Valor, showcasing over 1,000 flags in tribute to American veterans. The display of flags will be open to the public until Nov. 13 from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m., and its last day on Nov. 14 from 10 p.m. until 2 p.m. A list of other tentative Veterans Day events for Orange County can be found online.

In Mission Viejo, this November will mark one year since the fallen soldier memorial was debuted. The sculpture of boots, a gun and a military helmet make up a Battlefield Cross, which honors those killed in action. It sits upon a pedestal presenting the logos of the United States’ five military branches.

On-campus celebrations are not scheduled this year at Saddleback College. In other years, Saddleback has had events hosted at the Veteran’s Memorial on campus with the Veterans Education and Transition Services Program. 10 years ago, Saddleback collected and distributed Thanksgiving baskets to student veterans.

Coming together to celebrate Veterans Day may come with some added precautions in 2020, but with socially distanced and virtual events, there are still ways to give thanks.