Pence-Lovell-England Post 1773 VFW members (from left) Martin “Digger” Rainey, Jim Watts, Chris Lyon and commander Mike Floyd. Below, a member of the community pays his respects.

CARROLLTON, Mo. – Coronavirus might have halted Pence-Lovell-England VFW Post 1773’s traditional Memorial Day cemetery service, but it didn’t stop the group from conducting a ceremony Monday, May 25, to honor the fallen at a different – but fitting location.

Post Commander Mike Floyd told the audience no more than 10 people were allowed to gather at cemeteries – its normal Memorial Day location. But social distancing guidelines weren’t going to stop him — even if he had to be arrested. With that, the VFW moved its service to Homeland Heroes Park in Carrollton “to honor all Carroll County vets from the Revolutionary War to today.” Normally, the VFW would have selected a Carrollton-native veteran and honored that individual at their gravesite.

A small group gathered as Boy Scout Troop 800 lowered the flags of the United States, its Armed Services and Carrollton’s first responders. Flowers and a wreath were placed at the base of the monument for those who served. A 21-gun salute and Taps followed.

For active duty Master Sgt. and Carrollton native  Kyle Cox, the younger generation of veterans should connect with the VFW, so veterans’ effort won’t be forgotten.

“It’s nice to come and see them still doing this. It’s kind of a reminder to my generation, as they age and move on, it’s really important to do stuff with the VFW to continue ceremonies like this, so people don’t forget,” Cox said.

What can citizens do for America’s active military? Cox has a simple answer.

“Just show your respect. The Army has changed a lot. We went through the times of the Vietnam War and the American citizens didn’t really appreciate the veteran,” he said, adding,  “Just showing appreciation is all that people really need.”

Cox was deployed 5 times — 3 tours in Iraq, 1 in Afghanistan and 1 in Syria. He now is a ROTC instructor at Missouri University of Science & Techonology. His wife, Sarah, is a veteran, who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.