Melissa Saldana(PARAMUS, N.J.) — BY: TOM BROOKSBANKA Boy Scout has been playing taps every night outside a New Jersey nursing home where more than 100 veterans have died amid the coronavirus crisis and concluded his daily tribute with a special Memorial Day ceremony.13-year-old Alex Saldana joined the Passaic Valley Elks Lodge Monday for a flag-planting ceremony outside the Paramus Veterans Memorial Home in Paramus, New Jersey. One hundred American flags were placed on the front lawn as Saldana trumpeted the iconic bugle call, honoring those who have died from novel coronavirus at the nursing home in recent weeks.“I’m glad I got to play a small part in honoring our veterans during this sad time,” Saldana said.The eighth grader is the bugler for his Boy Scout troop and was trying to find ways to honor veterans in the community. When he heard 37 residents at the veteran’s home passed away from COVID-19 complications on April 8 — just a mile away from his house — Saldana grabbed his trumpet and began playing.“Many of their kids and their family members can’t honor veterans in a traditional way right now because of the coronavirus,” Saldana said. “A tribute to salute their service can go a long way.”Saldana has played outside the home for veterans every night since, hoping to provide some comfort to residents and their loved ones as the deadly virus continues to take its toll.Over 40% of confirmed coronavirus deaths in New Jersey have been tied to long-term care facilities, according to the state’s COVID-19 information hub. Based on those numbers, a staggering one in 18 New Jersey residents in long-term care before the pandemic began are now dead. Nearly 26,000 of the states 90,000 residents living in nursing homes and assisted living facilities have tested positive for COVID-19.In the wake of so much devastation, Saldana’s tributes help veterans honor the passing of former soldiers.“He brings tears to people’s eyes when he plays,” George Osborne said, a veteran who listened in during Saldana’s Memorial Day performance. “It’s a personal bond that every veteran feels when someone serves, it’s a brotherhood.”Memorial Day marked the end of Saldana’s daily pilgrimage. He says he still plans to stop by and play outside the nursing home as much as he can, at least once a week.Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.
Tardelli continued: “He said, ‘I have a little problem’. He is not available for this match. He was in Malaga because there is a little training camp with Everton. “It’s no problem to come for another match.” Asked if Gibson would be considered for selection for the trip to Sweden on March 22 and the home clash with Austria four days later, Tardelli said: “Yes, why not? “Always when we need a player and the player wants to come with the Irish team, we are very happy. “I don’t understand why this problem exists. It’s not my problem, it’s not Gibson’s problem.” Gibson was named in the squad for the first qualifier of the current campaign in Kazakhstan in September last year, but withdrew after telling Trapattoni the disappointment of what happened in Poland during the summer, and in particular his lack of a role in it, was still having an effect on him. There has been dialogue between the two parties since with the 73-year-old Italian identifying the former Manchester United player as one of the men he felt could give his team a different focus in the immediate aftermath of the Euros. The 25-year-old Everton midfielder has not played for his country since instigating a self-imposed exile in the wake of a disappointing Euro 2012 but assistant manager Marco Tardelli has revealed Giovanni Trapattoni had contacted Gibson on Monday morning following David Meyler’s withdrawal from the squad for Wednesday night’s friendly against Poland with a knee injury. He said: “This morning, Meyler told us that he was going back home and we spoke with Darron and he told us that he has played just one match and he would prefer to stay at home because he is not available. He has a little problem after the match. I think Darron wanted to come here with us. The next match, maybe yes.” Darron Gibson could return to the Ireland squad for next month’s crucial World Cup qualifiers against Sweden and Austria. Press Association