Flags waved in the wind on a sunny Memorial Day morning at Veterans Park in Big Bear Lake. The park features a plaque-filled wall honoring Big Bear’s military fallen. Nearby, another plaque stands in vigil to honor Gold Star families and their loved ones.

This Memorial Day, May 25, 2020, was like no other for Big Bear Lake. Veterans Park is usually covered in white chairs in anticipation of crowds attending the annual Memorial Day ceremony. This year, because of COVID-19, there were a few chairs scattered about. The Big Bear Valley Marine Corps League Detachment 1038 set up a display of flags and ceremonial crosses. Patriotic music filled the air, the wind sending the notes billowing around the green lawn.

While there were no speakers this year, there was a ceremony of sorts as State Assemblyman Jay Obernolte and Big Bear Lake Mayor Rick Herrick laid wreaths at the Gold Star memorial. A pair of bagpipers played “Amazing Grace” as the sparse crowd stood silently, some saying prayers, others saluting.

Most wore face coverings, reminding everyone the reason for the display and no official ceremony. The low-key ceremony seemed fitting on this most somber of days, when Americans honor the fallen.

No words were necessary.

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