MARION, Ind. (WPTA21) - Groups have been advised that large-scale placements of American flags at gravesites will not be permitted at national cemeteries this Memorial Day weekend.
It is one of several changes enacted in Marion and other national cemetery locations.
The National Cemetery Administration explained the move on its websites:
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, NCA is using existing Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), state and local public health guidance to maintain physical distancing, limit the size of gatherings, and encourage vulnerable populations to remain sheltered in place to inform our decisions.
The health and safety of visitors, Veterans, volunteers and team members must be our primary consideration at this time. NCA made the difficult decision to not host public events for Memorial Day, including the mass placement and retrieval of gravesite flags by any groups.
NCA relies largely on volunteers for placement and retrieval of gravesite flags for Memorial Day and these activities attract thousands of volunteers annually. Limiting the number of volunteers is not practical.
Cemetery staff will conduct a wreath-laying ceremony to officially commemorate Memorial Day. While we cannot extend an invitation to the public to attend due to health and safety concerns, NCA will share pictures of the event on Facebook and other social media.
All 142 VA national cemeteries will be open for visitation throughout the Memorial Day weekend. Families and friends are welcome to place flowers or individual flags at Veterans' gravesites.
Cemetery visitors are asked to adhere to CDC, state and local health and safety guidelines and local travel restrictions.
Additional information, including operating hours, is available at the Marion National Cemetery website.