SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — The Sgt. William Jasper Memorial Ceremony was a much smaller event on the eve of St. Patrick’s Day this year in light of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic — but the special ceremony still went on as scheduled despite the postponement of the 2020 parade and festival.
The traditional march from Johnson Square leading up to the Jasper Ceremony was also canceled.
A modest crowd, with many attendees dressed in green, attended Monday’s brief event at Madison Square. The ceremony included a prayer and a speech from the 2020 St. Patrick’s Day Parade Grand Marshal Michael Roush, followed by the laying of the wreath.
The annual ceremony pays tribute to the Irish military members, known as the Jasper Greens.
The ceremony was named after a famous Revolutionary War hero who died while rescuing his regiment’s colors during the Siege of Savannah in 1779.
Rep. Buddy Carter was also one of the guests. He chose to offer elbow bumps instead of handshakes to help lower the risk of spreading COVID-19.
“It is the event for Savannah, there’s no question about that,” Carter told News 3.
“That’s why it’s so disappointing to so many people. All of us understand that this is the right thing for us to do, to cancel the ceremonies. But at the same time, all of us are so disappointed,” he said.
He added that he felt that the United States would “be fine” as it faces many other cancellations and changes resulting from the outbreak.
“This too shall pass,” Carter said.