While large gatherings and public events have typically been hallmarks of Memorial Day in the past, this year’s observances will largely take place on the somber fields of Facebook.
Veterans’ group American Legion announced plans for a virtual Memorial Day observance in an April news release. The group called for those who have someone they wish to honor, to submit names and photos for publication via social media channels over Memorial Day weekend.
American Legion spokesman John Raughter said the virtual observances have garnered a lot of attention.
“We have been receiving a lot of interest, particularly from community newspapers, wishing to print or post the recommended Memorial Day speech (available on wwww.legion.org). The same from many of our members,” Raughter said in an e-mail.
Raughter said there was no way to know how many people had submitted names at this point because every American Legion post is autonomous.
Raughter added that in typical years, American Legion posts across the country would host and participate in a variety of Memorial Day events including ceremonies, wreath layings and remembrance meals.
“It is hard to say what the new normal will be after this year. The American Legion is a law-abiding organization,” Raughter said. “Posts have adapted according to the guidance of their local authorities. Some of the traditional observances will occur at the local level, safely with appropriate social distancing. Others will likely choose the ‘virtual’ option and take advantage of technology such as Zoom, Facebook Live or other video-teleconferencing.”
Those who wish to have someone honored during American Legion’s virtual Memorial Day observance can click here and submit the following:
- The servicemember’s name, along with the submitter’s relationship to the servicemember
- Year entering and year leaving the military
- Branch of service
- American Legion membership, if not KIA
- A photo of the servicemember, either in uniform or civilian clothes
More recently, Arlington National Cemetery announced via press release their facility would be open only to family pass holders. Family pass holders will only be allowed to visit their loved one’s graves and are prohibited from visiting other parts of the cemetery. The press release also came with the following restrictions for family pass holders:
- At all cemetery entry points, security personnel will ask for proof that authorized visitors have face coverings in their possession.
- Everyone who enters the cemetery must wear their face coverings in restrooms and at all other times in while in the cemetery where they are unable to maintain a six-foot social distance.
- Family pass holders are reminded that the family pass is not to be used to visit other historic locations throughout the cemetery.
- The only gate open to family pass holders over the holiday weekend will be the Memorial Avenue gate at the main entrance of the cemetery, beginning at 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.
- All family pass holders must exit the cemetery no later than 5:00 p.m.
Arlington National Cemetery personnel are expecting several thousand family pass holders to visit the landmark over the holiday weekend.
For those who don’t have family passes, Arlington National Cemetery staff plan to produce a “multi-media virtual visitation” to be distributed on either their website or social media platforms. For more information about Memorial Day events at Arlington National Ceremony, visit their official site at www.arlingtoncemetery.mil.Read comments