Veteran Events and Rituals Canceled

National Cemetery at Montevallo, Alabama (Source: National Cemetery Administration)

The list of events canceled by the COVID-19 threat continues to grow, and it now includes all ceremonies at national cemeteries for the next month to two months.

Although Sunday is National Vietnam War Veterans Day, a ceremony in the Alabama National Cemetery in Montevallo set for Friday was canceled. Assistant State Veterans Affairs Commissioner Bob Horton wrote in an email that Alabama has about 400,000 veterans, a fourth of whom served during the Vietnam era.

Because of the COVID-19 threat, the National Cemetery Administration has placed an indefinite ban on rituals often associated with burials at national cemeteries, including the playing of TAPs and gun salutes, as well as committal services and other special ceremonies that families of deceased vets often plan for a burial, Horton said.

The administration also has limited to 10 the number of immediate family members who can attend a veteran’s burial. This week, State Health Officer Scott Harris issued an order banning non-work-related gatherings of 10 or more people or any gatherings where a consistent six-foot distance cannot be maintained between people.