6/1/2020 4:03:00 PM Visiting Woodlawn Cemetery on a quiet Memorial Day
Troy Helget, commander of Stewartville VFW Post 8980, with American Legion member Dean Ramaker looking on, places a flag at the grave of Henry Gathje, a private in the U.S. Army during World War II, on May 22.
On a peaceful Memorial Day morning, Judy Griebenow and her daughter, Michelle Moe, spent some quiet time at Stewartville's Woodlawn Cemetery. Traditionally, the two join hundreds of others who gather at the cemetery for the city's annual Memorial Day ceremony. However, due to concerns about the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), Thomas Blade, commander of Stewartville American Legion Post 164, and Troy Helget, commander of the Stewartville VFW Post 8980, cancelled this year's ceremony. The two struggled greatly with the decision, as evidenced by Blade's words in a letter to the Stewartville STAR: "After much research, phone consultations and agonizing over the best course of action, I have made the decision to cancel the 2020 Memorial Day public events honoring our deceased veterans," Blade wrote. "Due to the COVID-19 virus, VFW Commander Troy Helget and I have decided to err on the side of caution in the interest of safety of our membership and the Stewartville community." Even so, Griebenow, Moe and many others took the time to visit Woodlawn to pay their respects on Monday morning, May 25. Griebenow, standing near the gravesites of many Stewartville veterans, explained why she always attends the Memorial Day ceremony... For more on this story pick up your copy of the June 2 Stewartville STAR.