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Gwinnett County Commission Chairwoman Charlotte Nash speaks at the county’s 2017 Memorial Day Ceremony at the Fallen Heroes Memorial.

Despite the COVID-19 novel coronavirus pandemic, Gwinnett County leaders won’t let the outbreak stop them from honoring the county’s fallen soldiers and public safety workers next week.

The county announced Tuesday that it will go forward with its annual Memorial Day ceremony — it will just be done in a different way that doesn’t involve bringing a crowd of people together this year. The county will hold a virtual Memorial Day ceremony on Monday, with participants giving video remarks.

Retired Marine Col. Parker Miller will deliver the ceremony’s keynote address.

“The ceremony will also include the traditional appearance of the Gwinnett County Honor Guard, a singing of the National Anthem, three-volley salute and ‘Taps,’” county officials said in an announcement for the event.

The switch to a virtual format for this year’s Gwinnett County Memorial Day Ceremony is just one example of how the holiday will be affected locally by the COVID-19 pandemic. The annual Dacula Memorial Day Parade was canceled earlier in the spring and several cities are canceling events scheduled through June or July.

Miller, the event’s keynote speaker, is a senior vice president at Curtiss-Wright, but county officials said he previously had an extensive military career during his time with the U.S. Marine Corps.

“Miller is a Vietnam veteran who subsequently earned his flight wings and was assigned to an attack helicopter squadron that participated in multiple, shipboard deployments in the Mediterranean, Caribbean and North seas,” county officials said. “He was a leading contributor to the attack helicopter tactics and training methods still in use today. Miller retired as the Branch Head for Navy Programs, Legislative Affairs.”

In addition to Miller, speakers during the virtual ceremony are expected to include Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners Chairwoman Charlotte Nash, county Commissioner Marlene Fosque and Ron and Caroline Buice of the Fallen Heroes Committee.

Gwinnett residents will be able to watch the ceremony online, at TVGwinnettLive.com, as well as TV Gwinnett’s cable television channel at 1 p.m. Monday. It will also be available for viewing on the county’s Facebook, Twitter and Vimeo pages.

“It also will run periodically on the channel over the coming weeks and be available on-demand at TVgwinnett.com,” officials said.

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I'm a Crawford Long baby who grew up in Marietta and eventually wandered to the University of Southern Mississippi for college. Earned a BA in journalism (double minor in political science and history). Previously worked in Florida and Clayton County.

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