The COVID-19 pandemic found Illinois laboring under one of the more severe lockdowns, preventing the traditional Memorial Day program normally held inside the post home.
The Americanism Committee for Columbia Post 581 is co-chaired by John Conrad and Gene Henckler. They worked with post leaders to develop an abbreviated program that still allowed for honoring and remembering our fallen heroes. They used the large adjacent parking lot to orchestrate an outdoor service using drive-in-theater techniques. A local church donated use of an audio system allowing for the broadcast. A local vendor used this system to play patriotic music including the national anthem. The post members participating in the program were socially distanced. The guests parked with the assistance of the Sons of The American Legion and remained in their automobiles listening to the program via an FM radio frequency. The fallen members of the post and Auxiliary were recognized individually by the chiming of a bell. The program concluded by placing a wreath in front of the Doughboy Monument with the honor guard firing a salute and a bugler sounding Taps.