County of Marin - News Releases - Memorial Day Online

For Immediate Release
May 13, 2020

Memorial Day Ceremony Goes Virtual

Tradition of honoring fallen heroes continues with safe, online-only format

San Rafael, CA – With the cancellation of all large gatherings because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the annual Memorial Day ceremony is relocating from the Marin Veterans’ Memorial Auditorium to the internet. To continue the tradition of Marin County honoring its fallen comrades, event organizers will show a brief online ceremony on Facebook so Marin residents can watch safely from home.

A view of a flagpole with an American flag at half staff and a POW MIA flag below it, with five antique airplanes flying in the distance.On Memorial Day, it's time to pay respects to fallen members of our military.
Sean Stephens, the County’s Veterans Services Officer, plans to join Marin County United Veterans Council President Ray Mullin to participate in a live video at 8:30 a.m. Monday, May 25, on the Council’s Facebook page and later replayed on Novato Community Television (NCTV) and Marin TV (CMCM). Stephens, a four-tour combat veteran from the U.S. Army, and Mullin, a Navy vet from the Vietnam War era, traditionally play center-stage roles in the annual gatherings that have attracted 500 to 1,000 attendees at Veterans’ Memorial Auditorium.

The annual Memorial Day ceremony honors all fallen American servicemen and servicewomen in the line of duty with a special emphasis on Marin’s own heroes. During the COVID-19 pandemic, large gatherings are considered high-risk for the spread of the virus and are not safe, especially for many of the older veterans who are at higher risk to contract the virus. Therefore, the organizers decided to embrace online streaming as a safe alternative.

“We felt strongly that some sort of ceremony happen on that sacred day,” Mullin said. “Just like everybody else, we’re adjusting to the circumstances. We will miss seeing our friends and mingling with them over coffee and doughnuts afterward.”

Stephens, whose office is nearby at 20 North Pedro Road in San Rafael,leads a small staff that helps line up financial benefits and other supportive services for veterans who qualify. Although many are seniors from Vietnam, the Korean War, and World War II, there are younger vets from the Middle East conflicts or those served in peacetime who seek assistance with services.

“If you raised your right hand and took the oath, you are a veteran and eligible for certain support from our federal government,” Stephens said. “At events like Memorial Day and Veterans Day, we are not only honoring those who saw combat overseas but those who worked at desk jobs or stayed stateside. But on May 25, we will pay respects to those who never came home or those who did return, served honorably, and have passed away.”

Anyone who wishes to visit the statues to pay respects on Memorial Day must follow social distancing protocol set by Marin County Public Health. If a visitor is laying a wreath or otherwise spending time at the site, others are asked to stay in their cars until the other visitor leaves. Marin County Public Health urges the same precautions be taken at any other locations where commemorative gatherings have been held in the past.

Learn more about Marin County’s Veterans Services program, overseen by the Marin County Department of Health and Human Services. Despite its office being closed during the pandemic, the Veterans Services staff is still supporting veterans by phone at 415-473-6193 and by email. The Veterans Crisis Line is 1-800-273-8255.


Sean Stephens
Veterans Services Officer
Health and Human Services

10 N. San Pedro Rd.
Suite 1010
San Rafael, CA 94903
(415) 473-6193
Email: Sean Stephens
Veterans Services website