Memorial Day is a time to honor the fallen who risked their lives for America’s freedom. With the Coronavirus pandemic, an important group of people is being left out: veterans in nursing homes.
Instead of honoring their fellow service members who gave their lives, they’re stuck inside with no one to see and nowhere to go.
NBC Palm Springs’ Daytona Everett spoke with her grandfather, Leonard Everett, or “Papa Len.” During his 97 years on this Earth, he’s made it through the great depression and fought in World War Two, stationed in Guam, fighting the Axis powers in the pacific with the Army.
Len is one of the sharpest, most active 97-year-old’s out there. He, along with thousands of other veterans across the country are spending Memorial Day 2020 isolated in a nursing home.
NBC Palm Springs spoke with Len in his Arizona nursing home via phone because visitors are not allowed inside. Therefore, video was not an option.
Daytona: “How do you feel about being a veteran and being cooped up on Memorial Day?”
Len: “Bad news.”
Daytona: “Why is that?”
Len: “Because I can’t go any places, it’s like being in jail… I can’t get out of my room, nobody can come in.”
Daytona: “Is it tough to think that you fought for this country’s freedom and now your freedom has been taken away?”
Len: “Oh yes, everything is lost.”
On a normal day, they bring his meals in, he watches TV, maybe takes a shower and that’s about it.
Len: “I’ve been here for a long time.”
Daytona: “How long have you been in your room for?”
Len: “24 hours a day, about two months.”
Daytona: “Are you still proud to be an American?”
Len: “There’s no doubt about it honey.”
Daytona: “We will get through this.”
Len: “We’re in this thing together.”
It’s a Memorial Day reminder that we’ve fought before and we can do it again. As a country we are resilient and can overcome.
To all the men and women out there who have risked their lives for this country, thank you from the NBC Palm Springs family.
We salute you…