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Fort Smith/Fayetteville News | 5newsonline KFSM 5NEWS | Get the local news and weather where you live from 5NEWS. Covering Fort Smith, Fayetteville, Bentonville, and all of Northwest Arkansas and the River Valley.

Christmas Honors program cancels 2020 Fort Smith events

The mission of the program is to transform the Fort Smith National Cemetery into a vision of beauty each December. Pandemic guidelines have forced cancellation.

FORT SMITH, Ark. — The Christmas Honors program has canceled its 2020 events in Fort Smith.

Philip H. Merry, Jr., Chairman of the Christmas Honors program, made the cancellation announcement on Friday (Aug. 14).

“Every December we look forward to paying tribute to our veterans laid to rest at the Fort Smith National Cemetery. Therefore, it is with heavy hearts that we announce the cancellation of this year’s Christmas Honors event(s) (originally scheduled on December 2nd & 5th, 2020).”

Chairman Merry says the program must adhere to the Department of Veterans Affairs guidelines during the coronavirus pandemic, in order to protect the health and well-being of the community.

In 2009, a volunteer group began the local Christmas Honors program.

The mission was to transform the Fort Smith National Cemetery into a vision of beauty each December.

Their goal was to show respect and honor to the fallen heroes and their families that so loved our country.

Over the last 13 years, other cities in Arkansas and Oklahoma have networked with the Fort Smith Christmas Honors team to carry the respect and honor for veterans and their families into their own special veteran remembrance events, with over 44,000 total burial sites respected and honored each year.

Merry says the program is diligently working on alternative plans to show remembrance and respect to the veterans buried at the Fort Smith National Cemetery, and details on those plans will be shared in the upcoming months.

For more information, visit ChristmasHonors.org.

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