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No Public Display, But Williamstown Legion to Honor the Fallen

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires Staff
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Field Park will be silent on Monday morning.
It just won't be the usual, solemn moment of silence that accompanies American Legion Post 152's annual Memorial Day observance.
The silence will be total, because the usual Memorial Day ceremony and the parade that precedes it were canceled nearly a month ago by the post in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
But although there will not be a public gathering or a closure of Main Street, there will be remembrance of Williamstown veterans who have died — either in service of their country or during peacetime.
"We're basically going to do the same thing we do on Veterans Day," Post 152 Commander Tom Webb said on Wednesday. "What that consists of is we're going to each of the [town's] cemeteries and doing a short ceremony.
"We'll lower the flag, do Taps, fire a gun salute, raise the flag and go to the next cemetery."
He said everyone will wear masks and maintain social distancing rules, and he suspects that will be a little easier than usual because the ceremonies likely will involve fewer veterans than usually participate in the November memorials.
"We're basically notifying all the members of the honor guard, but I'm fairly certain at least half of them won't come," Webb said. "We'll pare it down, but it will be pared down voluntarily. In the end, we'll probably have somewhere between six and 10 people to do all the cemeteries."
Webb said he was not sure how other American Legion posts in the area were handling the holiday. He said the decision to cancel the public remembrance in Williamstown was an obvious one.
"There's not a lot you can do about it," he said. "It is what it is. It's better to be safe than it is to pull off some kind of event. We had, basically, a ceremony prepared for this year, but we'll use it for next year's ceremony instead.
"At this point, I don't think there's much anybody can do."
One thing the Legionnaires can do is honor the memory of their fallen comrades. They just will do so outside the public eye.
"We're not making an announcement of where we're starting or when because we don't want the public to come," Webb said. "We appreciate people coming out any other year, but this is something we're going to do more or less privately for safety concerns."

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County's Colleges Train Workers for Post-Pandemic Economy

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires Staff
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The county's institutions of higher education are ready to do their part to help their students navigate their way through a post-COVID-19 economy.
On Friday, the presidents of Berkshire Community College, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts and Williams College and the provost of Bard College at Simon's Rock participated in a virtual town hall hosted by 1Berkshire.
Johnathan Butler led the hourlong conversation, which focused largely on how colleges are adapting to the current closure of their physical campuses and making plans for the fall 2020 semester.
But at one point Butler asked how the schools are situated to help address workforce development needs at a time when Berkshire County has nearly 30 percent unemployment.
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