Washington-USA — Did you know that about 93 percent of all veterans in US live within 75 miles of a national or local veterans cemetery? This data comes from the National Cemetery Administration.
America’s best-known veterans cemetery is Arlington National Cemetery. This site generally attracted tens of thousands of veterans and families the week before and after Memorial Day. The cemetery saw very limited visitors in the past year, due to pandemic restrictions. The Cemetery officials will announce new visiting rules for next week’s holidays soon.
Before Memorial Day weekend, Veterans Affairs officials lift all restrictions on visitors to veterans’ cemeteries across the country. The visitors are required to be vaccinated against the coronavirus.
This means there are no masks, no social distancing, and no group size limit at any of the 155 national cemeteries as of May 26.
At the start of the coronavirus outbreak, most of the cemeteries were closed for ten weeks. Since last June, masks and crowd size restrictions are in place. Funeral services were continued but are limited to a small number of first-degree relatives. Public gatherings have been reduced to a minimum.
Officials said the large-scale Memorial Day weekend events, will not be held at the venues this year. Because concerns about mass gatherings continue. However, individuals, military veterans, and families planning to visit cemeteries will be able to continue their activities with the protocols before the pandemic began.
“For those of us in the VA and especially those in the National Cemetery Administration, Memorial Day is one of the most important days of the year,” acting Under Secretary for Memorial Affairs Ron Walters told reporters on Friday.
“I’m sure many families will be happy to get the news that there will no longer be a limit on the number of people who can attend these services.”
VA officials could not estimate how many individuals may visit the cemeteries next week as a result of the loosened rules. Local staff has been conducting burial and committal ceremonies since last summer. Moreover, grounds crews have been maintaining sites throughout the pandemic.
“All of our district directors said that lifting [the restrictions] does not pose any additional challenges to the cemeteries,” Walters said . He added: “We’ve still had a cemetery representative there, the cemetery directors will still be there. This new COVID guidance. will keep things up in the cemeteries.”
Families who had a small funeral service during the height of the pandemic can request a larger memorial service now. Walters said he does not anticipate those requests to add significant workload to staff. (continue reading)