The Monday ceremony will be a bit scaled back this year due to concerns about the novel coronavirus, which caused a shutdown of large public gatherings and instituted guidelines for social distancing and other precautions for going out in public.
For the first time ever, the ceremony will be streamed on the TC-MAC’s Facebook page, as well as on the city’s YouTube channel, TC-MAC’s Ernie Rumsby said.
Rumsby said TC-MAC and all the veterans groups involved are very appreciative of city employees and Mayor Pat Shull for putting a lot of work into making the event possible under this year’s circumstances, and especially for live-streaming the event so those at home can watch it as well.
“We’re very happy we’ve been able to get that worked out,” Rumsby said. “We want people to come out, if they are comfortable doing so. We recommend wearing a face mask for everyone who attends, and social distancing guidelines will be in place. But this way, it will be available for people to watch online from home. We hope that’s something we can continue doing going forward.”
The ceremony is scheduled to begin Monday at 11 a.m. The Kingsport Veterans Memorial is located at the front of J. Fred Johnson Park, adjacent to J. Fred Johnson Stadium on Fort Henry Drive near that road’s intersection with Eastman Road.
Rumsby said the ceremony will pretty much follow the format it has followed for several years, with a couple of exceptions. One concession to social distancing will be the lack of “The Cross” portion of the ceremony, during which members of the audience line up single file to place small American flags on a cross-shaped floral display form. Rumsby said speakers will keep things as short as possible to lessen the time a crowd is present.
The ceremony will include the national anthem, a keynote speaker and the “Missing Man” table ceremony.
Local veterans groups participating in the ceremony will include the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 979, American Legion Post 3, AMVETS Post 37, and Korean War Veterans Chapter 289.