For the first time that Joe Root can remember, there will not be the usual Memorial Day Ceremony come Monday in downtown Frankfort. Due to concerns about the novel coronavirus pandemic, the tradition of having a ceremony at the Clinton County War Memorial on the south side of the Clinton County Courthouse has been canceled but Root, a Marine and the Clinton County Veteran Service Officer, says that we should still observe Memorial Day in our own, individual ways.
“I am putting flags up around the memorial on the square, and I would ask other people to fly the flag proudly and think about the veterans who have lost their lives. This is the day to honor them,” Root said. “It is bad that we are not having a ceremony, but I think that people understand that with the current virus that it would be foolish to put our veterans at risk. The majority of them are older, and this is a time that we could really devastate the veteran community by gathering.
“I have never known us not to have a Memorial Day ceremony, and I am 73 years old,” he added. “I always remember going to a Memorial Day ceremony. My grandfather was wounded in WWI, and our family was always very appreciative of what veterans have done. And I lost my great-nephew, Jamie Jarboe, in Afghanistan.”
American Legion Post #12, which Root points out as the oldest continuously operating post in the country, has joined VFW Post #1100 and numerous volunteers in placing flags at the gravestones of veterans in the county.
“The flags are all on the graves now, but the only way we know that they were a veteran is by it being on their gravestone,” Root said. “If anyone needs a flag placed on a grave, they are normally around the entrance of the cemeteries. So stop by the entrance to pick one up or contact the American Legion (654-7144; 451 W. Clinton St.), and we will be happy to give you a flag. No one is intentionally left out that is a veteran, but we have to know that they are a veteran to put a flag on there.”
Root added that families may also take one of the flags that have been placed around the Clinton County War Memorial at the courthouse if they need one for their veteran’s grave.
At 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Root will join Scott Villars at the Clinton County War Memorial to install memorial paver bricks that had been ordered in 2019.
“If anyone would like to come up and watch us install them, they are welcome to do so as long as they follow safe-distancing and respect (social-distancing guidelines),” Root said. “I think it is important that we still honor the veterans.”
Roots said that the Clinton County War Memorial, its maintenance and the flags are all paid for solely by donations.
Those who wish to donate to the memorial may do so by contacting Root’s office at 659-6389.