Pandemic mutes Memorial Day at Nashville National Cemetery

Local News

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Memorial Day honors the service and ultimate sacrifice made by men and women who fought to keep our country free though the COVID-19 pandemic will change the way many Americans will pay tribute.

Changes to the traditional schedule of Memorial Day events will not stop many people and groups from honoring fallen service members.

Typically, grave-site events would attract thousands of people on Memorial Day with public events at Nashville’s National Cemetery. The National Cemetery Administration made the difficult decision to cancel planned gatherings in an effort to discourage large groups and encourage social distancing.

Family and friends of veterans laid to rest are still welcome to visit and are asked to keep CDC guidelines in mind.

“Let’s make sure that we are celebrating thoughtfully and we are celebrating the true meaning of sacrifice this weekend as we honor those as I mentioned, as a famous unknown author once wrote. I think this is so eloquent and perfect. ‘Our flag flies not with the wind that moves it, but it flies with the last breath of each soldier who died protecting it’ and I think that’s so awesome,” said Sgt. P.J. Hardy with the Lebanon Police Department.

Major General Jeff Holmes, Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Military, said he hopes young people will understand the gravity of Memorial Day.

“I think one of our nation’s strengths is the gratitude and recognition shown by our citizens on Memorial Day. That tradition is sustained by passing that down to our next generation and I think as COVID has affected virtually every aspect of our life, realizing our school system is not in session. Universities do not have classes, I think this next generation, our youth, might miss a very valuable opportunity. The various events that occur at churches and schools and things like that that honor these great Americans who made that sacrifice are not available,” said Major General Holmes.

Staff will still hold a virtual wreath-laying ceremony at the Nashville National Cemetery in honor of men and women who gave their lives in service. The cemetery is the final resting place of more than 30,000 veterans and spouses.

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