DANVILLE — People whose loved ones are buried at Danville National Cemetery may continue the tradition of placing flowers and flags on Memorial Day.

Unlike years past, however, there will be no public ceremonies to honor the veterans and their spouses.

At Danville and the 141 other national cemeteries, officials will have solemn wreath-laying ceremonies, which are not open to the public.

The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs’ National Cemetery Administration made that announcement about not having public ceremonies in keeping with CDC guidelines to limit large gatherings.

Each VA national cemetery will conduct a brief wreath laying ceremony, accompanied by a moment of silence and the playing of Taps.

For the cemeteries with Facebook accounts, images or video of the ceremony will be posted there

“This year, by necessity, will be different from past Memorial Day observances,” VA Secretary Robert Wilkie said in a news release.

“While the department can’t hold large public ceremonies, VA will still honor veterans and service members with the solemn dignity and respect they have earned through their service and sacrifice.”

Other public events typically associated with Memorial Day at national cemeteries, including group placement of flags at gravesites, will not take place.

However, all VA national cemeteries will be open Memorial Day weekend from dawn to dusk for public visitation. Cemetery visitors are asked to adhere to health and safety guidelines and maintain physical distancing while visiting.

Visitors also are urged to consider visiting today or Sunday to avoid possible crowds on Memorial Day. Families may continue the tradition of placing flowers and small American flags at their veteran’s gravesite.

The VA also has launched a new way for the public to pay tributes to veterans at the Veterans Legacy Memorial.

The site, originally launched in 2019, contains a memorial page for each veteran and service member interred in a VA national cemetery. Online visitors may leave a comment of tribute on a veteran’s page, introducing a new way to observe Memorial Day.

The tribute allows visitors to voice memories and appreciation for a veteran’s service. All comments will be reviewed for appropriateness prior to being posted.

As it has in years past, VA is again partnering with Carry the Load this Memorial Day to honor select “Veterans of the Day” with remembrances on social media from now to May 25. Learn more at carrytheload.org

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