SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – It’s been a much quieter Memorial Day than usual, as Americans have to change the way they pay their respects to members who died while serving our country. A lot of people did go and pay their respects at the Santa Fe National Cemetery for Memorial Day. However, due to coronavirus concerns, the cemetery’s normal Memorial Day ceremony was not open to the public.
“We prefer the type of ceremony we are accustomed to holding on Memorial Day, but the most important thing is we are joined together to honor those brave Americans who made the ultimate sacrifice and service to our country,” a Santa Fe National Cemetery staffer said during Monday’s Memorial Day service.
The video of the ceremony was shared online. Visitors were still allowed to pay their respects over the weekend and on Memorial Day. Last year, the Santa Fe National Cemetery hosted a large crowd for its Memorial Day ceremony. Gravesites are normally lined with small U.S. flags that are placed by the Boy Scouts and thousands of other volunteers.
However, this Memorial Day, they couldn’t do that due to COVID-19 health concerns for volunteers and staff and restrictions on large gatherings. People were still welcome to place flowers and flags at individual gravesites for their loved ones, and a lot of people did. “I’m here to see my son who was a veteran United States Air Force, and this is his son,” April Romero said. She dawned a U.S. flag mask during her visit to the cemetery.
“We came to see him and bring flowers and pay our respects and we’re so proud of him for serving,” Romero added. “And we miss him very much.”
The Santa Fe National Cemetery said there were probably a thousand visitors by noon on Monday, but everyone kept their distance. The normal gravesite locator kiosk is also closed to do social distance concerns and the ability to keep it sanitized. Visitors are asked to use the mobile grave locator before they go.
The National Cemetery Association now has a virtual way for the public to pay tributes to Veterans at the Veterans Legacy Memorial (VLM). VLM will permit online visitors to leave a comment of tribute on a Veteran’s page, as a new way of introducing how we observe Memorial Day. The tribute allows visitors to voice memories and appreciation for a Veteran’s service.
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