“I haven’t missed a Memorial Day in 55 years, and I don’t intend on missing one this year,” said Raftis. “‘Flags In’ on all of the veteran’s graves is postponed until hopefully June when we can get the permission from the health department and Tioga County officials to go and place 2,500 flags on the veteran’s graves,” Raftis said. “We ask that our community find a spark and creative other ways to honor the veterans for their service and for their sacrifice. ” “Memorial Day and honoring our fallen heroes isn’t canceled, but Memorial Day parade and service of the remembrance is postponed, canceled,” If the number of COVID-19 cases goes down, Raftis hopes to get approval from Tioga County officials in June. OWEGO, NY (WENY/WBNG) — With restrictions on gatherings causing Memorial Day celebrations to be postponed or canceled, one local man has created a Memorial Day celebration to still honor local veterans. Raftis says even though COVID-19 has changed the way we celebrate Memorial Day, he hopes people can find new ways to remember fallen service members. Tioga County officials say the spread of COVID-19 must go down before large crowds can enjoy celebrations like Memorial Day. Owego resident James Raftis, a Korean War veteran and Post 1371 Veterans of Foreign Wars Memorial Day Chairman, says the virus won’t stop him from remembering and honoring fallen heroes. As for the weekend, Governor Cuomo has given Tioga County officials permission to allow gatherings of 10 people or less. For Raftis, Memorial Day is a time to remember veterans who fought alongside him during his time in the service. Raftis says Memorial Day will be celebrated virtually this year. He and a few other members in Tioga County will pay tribute to Veterans by reading the Final Roll Call of over 5,000 veterans buried in 68 Tioga County cemeteries live on Facebook and YouTube. The reading will take place from 8:15 am to 10 am. “Memorial Day, for me, will never be canceled. The first one for me was when I was in Korea when I went to the United Nations Military Cemetery where they honored over 2,500 dead from the Korean war.” At this time, all ceremonies have been canceled or postponed for Memorial Day.