Cemetery Ceremonies

 If you have a social media account, you have likely seen the picture of the woman lying in front of a tombstone at Arlington with the caption: “Memorial Day: In case you thought it was National BBQ Day.” That photo wasn’t made up to make people feel bad about wanting burgers on a day created to honor the fallen. It is, rather, a reminder that many, many people will spend at least Memorial Day, if not numerous other days of the year, mourning lost loved ones in cemeteries across the country.

None of the people I mourn on Memorial Day are buried where I can visit them. Usually, I look at their pictures and call a friend and we share stories about them. But, this year, I have decided to attend the ceremony at the local cemetery, to pay my respects to the fallen who lie in this town. I won’t recognize their names and I won’t know their stories, but I do understand their sacrifice and I can honor that.

If you are in DC and have the honor of being at Arlington National Cemetery on Monday, the Navy Band will begin playing in the amphitheater at 10:30 and the wreath will be lain at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at 11:00. The gate will be open at 8 and amphitheater seats are first come, first served. More details on parking and such can be found here.

If you are outside the DC area, you can find a list of ceremony times for VA cemeteries here.

If there is no VA cemetery in your area, ceremonies are likely to be held at a local cemetery. Details for these events can usually be found in the local paper or other local resources (I found mine in the press release section of my county’s official homepage).

© 2014 – 2020, Sarah Maples LLC. All rights reserved.

Sarah Maples is a former Air Force intelligence officer and an Afghanistan veteran. She is a freelance writer and editor, specializing in veteran, military, and defense topics.

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