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The Department of Veterans Affairs will host more than 130 Memorial Day ceremonies at its national cemeteries to honor those who gave their lives for the nation.
Veterans, their families, caregivers, survivors and members of the public are invited to attend the wreath-laying services, held between May 25 and May 30. Find the ceremony closest to you; dates and times may change due to inclement weather.
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“On Memorial Day, we honor the service members who made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation — and we pay our respects to the families and loved ones who mourn them and miss them dearly,” said VA Secretary Denis McDonough in a statement.
Leading up to Memorial Day, many locations will need volunteers to place small American flags in front of veterans’ headstones. Help will also be needed to remove and store the flags in the days following the observance.
National cemeteries with full staff typically conduct wreath-laying events accompanied by speeches, music, a moment of silence and the playing of taps.
VA Burial Benefits
Almost all veterans who received an honorable discharge are eligible for a burial benefit, even if they did not serve in combat. Although federal burial grounds are long established, many veterans and military families are unaware of the broad eligibility and benefits available to them. Click here to learn more.
This year, the VA is encouraging Americans to honor fallen service members by leaving a tribute on the Veterans Legacy Memorial website, which includes 4.5 million pages of information about veterans buried in national, state, territorial or tribal VA cemeteries.
To view live streams, recorded videos and photographs from many of these observances, visit the National Cemetery Administration’s Facebook and Twitter pages.
All VA national cemeteries will be open from dawn until dusk Memorial Day. Some observances of note include:
- Secretary McDonough will preside over a wreath-laying ceremony May 27 at BG William C. Doyle Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Wrightstown, New Jersey.
- Acting VA Deputy Secretary Guy Kiyokawa will set a wreath May 29 at Washington Crossing National Cemetery in Newtown, Pennsylvania.
- Under Secretary for Memorial Affairs Matt Quinn will speak at a wreath-laying and flag-placing event May 26 at Annapolis National Cemetery in Annapolis, Maryland. He will also speak on Memorial Day at the Albert G. Horton Jr. Memorial Veterans Cemetery in Suffolk, Virginia.
There are 155 national cemeteries and 34 soldiers’ lots and monument sites across 44 states and Puerto Rico. The VA’s Veterans Cemetery Grant Program also funds 121 additional state, territorial and tribal cemeteries, many of which are also holding Memorial Day ceremonies.
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