Memorial Day ceremonies adjust amid pandemic, ban on mass gatherings

Coronavirus New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Memorial Day weekend is coming up and while most would typically spend the weekend at public services to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice, the pandemic and statewide ban on mass gatherings is forcing a change of plans.

The American Legion Post 49 usually holds a Memorial Day service called Post Everlasting Ceremony. Typically, people gather inside the post while they honor members who have passed away and those who lost their lives serving the country. This year, Post 49 is doing what they can to still hold the ceremony during the pandemic.

“The way it’s going to be different is we could not invite our members that are usually in attendance so it’s just going to be executive board,” Ramona Harris, Commander of American Legion Post 49 in Albuquerque, said.

This year’s ceremony will be outside in the parking lot without the public attending. The ceremony will be on Facebook Live and Zoom. There will also be food available after the ceremony, for pick up only.

“Even though we are under this pandemic, you know, Memorial Day is important. And even if we cannot gather, I think it’s important everybody to celebrate wherever they’re at,” Harris said.

The City of Albuquerque is canceling its Memorial Day Concert in the Park celebration at the New Mexico Veterans’ Memorial. Visit the city’s website to see what city agencies are open on the holiday. Rio Rancho is recording its annual remembrance ceremony and posting it on the city’s website for community members. The recording will be posted by noon on Memorial Day.

The Santa Fe National Cemetery will be open for visitation over Memorial Day weekend but public services will be canceled.

“Santa Fe National Cemetery is committed to observing Memorial Day 2020 in a manner that honors those who sacrificed for our Nation while protecting the health and safety of visitors and our team members,” said Cindy M. Van Bibber, Santa Fe National Cemetery Director, in a press release.

The cemetery staff will still hold and record a private service that the public can watch on the National Cemetery Administration’s website or Facebook page.

The Santa Fe National Cemetery is reminding people to wear masks and implement social distancing when visiting the cemetery. Families are still allowed to leave flowers or flags on gravesites.

The National American Legion organization is urging families across the country to light candles at dusk on Memorial Day as a way to honor fallen heroes safely at home.

New Mexico Coronavirus Resource Guide

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