Pandemic won't stop gold star family from remembering son on Memorial Day

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) -- There's a lot COVID-19 has halted but for one Lexington Family, they say it could never stop them from remembering their son.

There's a lot COVID-19 has halted but for one Lexington Family, they say it could never stop them from remembering their son.

Captain Matthew Roland of the United States Air Force died on August 26, 2015 in Afghanistan. His parents, Mark and Barbara have made the trip to Arlington National Cemetery yearly to visit their son. However, this year the logistics of a hotel, travel, food, and the cancellation of other events stopped them in their tracks.

The two say while the tradition has been placed on hold, they will continue to honor their son no matter where they are.

"We always say that a man dies twice. The first time is when their heart stops beating and when their name is no longer mentioned," said Mark Roland. "If you know someone that has fallen take a moment to remember their name and remember their sacrifice."

The Roland's understand why they have positive outlooks, other gold star families may be struggling. They are encouraging others to use the time to truly reflect on what their loved one meant to them.

"Be strong and celebrate their lives," said Mark. "Don't grieve their loss necessarily but celebrate their life."

Camp Nelson is also making some changes. The cemetery will not host a Memorial Day Ceremony but instead are encouraging the public to take time out of the day to remember heroes. The cemetery staff have also laid flags to remember the fallen and are supplying a video replay of last year's events to veterans.

As for the Roland's, they are now planning to make their next trip to visit their son in August.