Bella Vida honors veterans during Memorial Day car parade

Army veteran Greg Nutter and Air Force veteran Ken Asam, left to right, salute the flag as the national anthem is played during the Bella Vida Senior Center's Memorial Day ceremony on Friday, May 22, 2020. Courtesy of Marcelo Del Valle
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A stream of cars decorated in red, white and blue drove through the Bella Vida Senior Center parking lot Friday to honor the fallen heroes this Memorial Day.

While the center’s annual ceremony was canceled, the center still felt it was important to find a way to recognize the sacrifices made, as many of its guests are veterans themselves.

So, instead of the usual festivities, seniors were invited to join the a distanced ceremony from the safety of their cars as the center held its daily lunch drive thru. 

Amidst a sea of flags, senior center CEO Kevin MacDonald acknowledged the center’s veterans as cars lined the parking lot.

Flags decorate the parking lot of the Bella Vida Senior Center as car line up for their Memorial Day ceremony on Friday, May 22, 2020. Courtesy of Marcelo Del Valle

Though distanced, seniors could be heard singing along as maestro John Swinford performed the national anthem on a piano that had been moved outside for the ceremony. 

While Greg Nutter, Army veteran and Purple Heart recipient, and Ken Asam, Air Force veteran and the center’s Veterans Committee chair, lowered the flag to half staff, many of the seniors and veterans got out of their vehicles to salute.

“I think so many of the seniors truly appreciated the ceremony, and I know they loved the music so very much,” lunch volunteer Ashley Ahmadi said via email. “It was a lovely and meaningful way to pay our respects.”

John Swinford performs the national anthem on a piano outside the Bella Vida Senior Center during their Memorial Day ceremony on Friday, May 22, 2020. Courtesy

Cars line up at Bella Vida Senior Center as for the Memorial Day ceremony on Friday, May 22, 2020. Courtesy

Flags decorate the parking lot of the Bella Vida Senior Center as car line up for their Memorial Day ceremony on Friday, May 22, 2020. Courtesy

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