Pandemic doesn't slow honors at Omaha National Cemetery

Published: May. 25, 2020 at 6:34 PM CDT
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The pandemic may have put a halt on a formal ceremony, but that didn’t stop loved ones from honoring their heroes this Memorial Day.

Rachel Salts led her brother and mother, winding through rows, stopping in front of a headstone reading, ‘Roger Alex Davids’.

“Grandpa, he was kind of like this little force in our family and it’s really weird not having him here,” said Rachel, who’s grandfather served in Vietnam.

It’s been nearly two years since he passed away, having battled Alzheimer’s. Perhaps his grandson, also knows of a battle. Craig is autistic and looked to his grandfather as a guiding light.

“He was a great man and a great grandpa for me,” said Craig Salts. “He helped me out a lot when he was alive; helped me do better things for myself, get exercise, go running, be independent -- he taught me how to drive.”

Despite the threat of coronavirus people show up in droves Monday, keeping a safe distance.

“It’s a little different,” said Rachel. “With everyone being quarantined, they used to have a really nice Memorial Day service.”

Service or not, Kimberly Salts wasn’t going to miss this day. She’d just come off an 18-hour shift but was still determined to honor her father.

“My dad loved America. He was very proud to be a veteran, just very, very proud,” said Kimberly. It’s what he talked about, it’s what he dreamed of being a kid - it was his life.”

A life that meant a lot to her son, Craig.

“I wish he was still alive right now so we could have more time together to flying and stuff,” said Craig. “But I know he’s in heaven right now safe, and not sick no more, and not hurting no more.”

And while some hurt may fall on this Memorial Day, Kimberly takes comfort in this message:

“I love you Dad,” she said, adding this piece of advice. “Don’t wait too long to say that.”

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