WASHINGTON (WRIC) — After canceling the practice of placing American flags to honor service members in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced Monday that it will allow mass flag placements across the country at its national cemeteries to commemorate Memorial Day in 2021.
According to a release, VA Secretary Denis McDonough will preside over the wreath laying at Quantico National Cemetery in Triangle, Va. on Friday, May 28. Acting Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs Dr. Carolyn Clancy and Acting Under Secretary for Memorial Affairs Ron Walters will do the same at Baltimore and Hampton national cemeteries, respectively.
“Memorial Day is a sacred day where we remember the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of freedom,” McDonough said. “We can never forget these heroes nor the families who continue to grieve the loss of their mother, father, son, daughter, sister or brother who stood in the gap for each of us to maintain the very democracy that we are able to treasure every day.”
All 155 VA national cemeteries will be open Memorial Day weekend from dawn to dusk, according to a release.
The department announced it will also debut new features on the Veterans Legacy Memorial site in time for Memorial Day, allowing online visitors to submit photos and biographical summaries of a veteran’s life, along with historical documents such as award citations, letters and newspaper clippings. The site was originally launched in 2019, and contains a memorial page for each of the nearly four million veterans and service members interred in a VA national cemetery where visitors can leave written tributes.