Of all the many events that Vine Grove hosts each year, the annual Hardin County Veterans Day Celebration parade and ceremony is one that means the most to Mayor Pam Ogden.
That’s why Monday’s cancellation announcement of the 23rd annual event was difficult for her to make.
She said it was her decision to call it off as the COVID-19 pandemic derailed yet another county staple.
“It was the one event that I didn’t want to see canceled,” said Ogden, whose late father was a veteran. “I also didn’t want to put anyone at risk by attending either. It was just a really hard decision to have to make because we love our veterans and we appreciate them. With that said, we also don’t want to put any of them, or anyone else, at risk.”
She said late last week it became clearer the challenge to host a Veterans Day event was growing.
When Hardin County Schools decided to go with online learning only this week, it meant the North Hardin High School marching band and school’s JROTC program wouldn’t be able to take part as they have every year.
Gov. Andy Beshear’s recommendation to red zone counties, of which Hardin County is one, to not host or attend gatherings of any size also played into the decision, Ogden said.
The Veterans Day event typically includes a parade, a guest speaker, a meal for veterans and a Fallen Soldier dedication.
“If you can’t do it right and in a way that veterans deserve, I didn’t want to do it,” Ogden said. She said over the last few days new obstacles made it too much to overcome.
“I was worried about what we were going to do for awhile,” she said.
The city managed to host a Halloween parade through city streets last Wednesday which Ogden said was well attended and well received.
She said the Halloween event was easier to hold, and safer, since it was vehicles driving through streets with people tossing candy to children and families in their yards.
“They could come to the front yard and get the candy,” she said. “It was much safer than having a Veterans Day parade and everything else we do with it where people are congregating together.
With Saturday’s event canceled, she said the city hopes to find a way to make next year’s Veterans Day event even more special.
A Veterans Day ceremony hosted by American Legion Hardin Post 113 is scheduled at the Elizabethtown Nature Park at 11 a.m. Nov. 11. Wearing a mask and social distancing is recommended.