Memorial Day ceremonies accessible to everyone, especially Veterans


Posted on May 20, 2011

Organizers of Memorial Day services – this year on Monday, May 30 – need to review their plans to be certain all venues are wheelchair accessible. This is especially important as the number of older Veterans swells.

Older Veterans who served in World War II, Korea, or Vietnam are sure to attend Memorial Day ceremonies, as well as younger Veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars. Parades are not as common today as they once were, often replaced by wreath-layings at Veterans memorials.

Locations for these ceremonies may not be wheelchair accessible, as the Milford, Mass., Commission on Disability decided to overcome steps leading up to the annual Memorial Day ceremony platform. The decades-long traditional parade and speeches remain a town highlight, featuring honored guests from the Veterans of Foreign Wars, AMVETS, and Disabled American Veteransgroups.

Milford’s 2010 Memorial Day Parade Grand Marshal Raymond Zaccarino, a Vietnam Veteran, easily accessed the podium via Amramp’s modular wheelchair ramp, which the town rented for the day, Milford Veterans Agent John A. Pilla said. And the town will again provide an Amramp ramp for 2011 Memorial Day services on Monday, May 30.

This Memorial Day is especially poignant for America’s Veterans, as the last of the World War I doughboys, Frank Buckles of West Virginia, died in February. Buckles was buried at Arlington National Cemetery in March.

The Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that nearly 1,000 World War II Veterans die each day. For those who served across the globe in what was called The Great War, Memorial Day services remain an important American tradition. It would be a disservice to Veterans if ceremonies honoring them and their fallen comrades were not accessible to those who use wheelchairs or walking aids.

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Tags: accessibility, ramps, Veterans