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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — In-person Memorial Day ceremonies — like all ceremonies at national cemeteries — have been canceled, but they have been substituted with beautiful online tributes, including one made especially for Fort Snelling.

In the tribute, you can see the members of the Fort Snelling rifle squad giving their 21-gun salute while wearing masks.

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The cemetery produced a virtual ceremony, featuring patriotic music, stunning shots of the cemetery and dignitaries that usually attend in person, including Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith, and Gov. Tim Walz, who is a veteran himself.

“This Memorial Day is unlike any other. This Memorial Day is important. We pause and reflect on those who made the ultimate sacrifice to our nation,” Walz said.

John Knapp, the deputy director of the cemetery, addressed how hard the decision was to cancel the in-person ceremony.

Related: Virtual Memorial Day Events In Minnesota

“We can’t have groups of 10 or more people and we usually get 3,000 to 5,000 people at the ceremony, so it was a difficult decision,” Knapp said. “But the decision was made and it was made at all the national cemeteries across the United States.

Stanley Kind, who came to visit his father, says he was initially worried about coming.

“Everybody wants to have on the face of normal, but we all know it’s not,” Kind said. “It’s really been therapeutic, it’s really been helpful just to come through the gate.”

A group placed flags on the graves of those they didn’t know. Jen Lattery was among them.

“This year, with everything that is going on that we were helping and get more graves covered because not all of them are going to get covered,” Lattery said.

Paul Lally also helped adorn the graves.

“There is a lot of soldiers that don’t have family anymore, and I figure if I can fill that gap, great,” Lally said.

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Esme Murphy

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