COLUMBUS (WCMH) – Memorial Day marked the first holiday in more than a year with relaxed health restrictions and gave Central Ohio traditions the opportunity to resume.
“You can feel the excitement, you can see their eyes watering up when you touch their heart… so it’s really good,” said Lt. Gen. Mike Ferriter, the president and CEO of the National Veterans Memorial and Museum (NVMM).
Monday, NVMM hosted a Day of Remembrance on the rooftop of its downtown Columbus building. The event streamed online, but also allowed up to 250 guests outside and overflow seating inside the Great Hall.
One of the first in-person events in more than a year was marked by a military band, flyover and several notable speakers, including U.S. Senator Rob Portman, U.S. Army combat veteran and TV personality J.R. Martinez and Gold Star wife Brittnay McCall.
Even with the grandeur and excitement of gathering in-person, all of the speakers reminded the audience about the holiday’s reverence.
“This is about those who died and what they did for us. It’s not about the end of school or a picnic,” said Susan Hency, whose father, father-in-law and son all served in the military.
James Sprenger, a Vietnam War Navy veteran added, “It’s just a day to reflect.”
Many noted the joy of holding in-person events again, but said it was important to remember the reason for the holiday.
“We will always remember Memorial Day’s about our fallen, the young men and women who have signed up, gone somewhere and defended freedom,” Lt. Gen. Ferriter said.
For a second consecutive year, NVMM is also hosting a virtual ‘Run, Walk, Ruck and Roll’ in lieu of an in-person race. Participants can choose their own time and place for the virtual 1 mile, 5K and 10K. You can sign up or see results from the races by clicking here.
Learn more about the National Veterans Memorial and Museum’s mission and exhibits by clicking on this link.