Memorial Day commemorations at NCA cemeteries

Families and friends will be welcome to place flowers or individual flags at veterans’ gravesites during Memorial Day weekend

By U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs on May 21, 2020

The National Cemetery Administration (NCA) 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. All 142 VA national cemeteries will be open for visitation throughout the Memorial Day weekend. Families and friends are welcome to place flowers or individual flags at veterans' gravesites. Cemetery visitors are asked to adhere to CDC, state and local health and safety guidelines and local travel restrictions.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, NCA is using existing Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), state and local public health guidance to maintain physical distancing, limit the size of gatherings, and encourage vulnerable populations to remain sheltered in place to inform our decisions. The health and safety of visitors, veterans, volunteers and team members must be our primary consideration at this time. NCA made the difficult decision to not host public events for Memorial Day, including the mass placement and retrieval of gravesite flags by any groups. NCA relies largely on volunteers for placement and retrieval of gravesite flags for Memorial Day and these activities attract thousands of volunteers annually. Limiting the number of volunteers is not practical. Cemetery staff will conduct a wreath-laying ceremony to officially commemorate Memorial Day. While we cannot extend an invitation to the public to attend due to health and safety concerns, NCA will share pictures of the event on Facebook and other social media.

Additional COVID-Related NCA Information

All Department of Veterans Affairs' national cemeteries remain open and continue to provide interment for veterans and eligible individuals during this health crisis. On March 23, the National Cemetery Administration temporarily discontinued committal services while continuing to allow families to witness their loved ones' interments (up to 10 individuals).

Effective, Wednesday, April 15, to ensure social distancing at the cemetery, witnessing family members will now be asked to view the interment from their cars or the road very near their cars. Families may visit the gravesite in the days following the interment consistent with CDC guidelines and local travel restrictions.

Please be aware of CDC and local guidelines intended to protect health and safety. Note that the CDC recommends those individuals who are not feeling well, have been exposed to someone who is COVID positive, or have received a COVID positive diagnosis to not leave their homes except to get medical care and to not visit public areas.

NCA is offering all families the option to postpone the interment, or to proceed with the interment and provide a memorial service at a later date. Families choosing to witness should also understand our staff are closely following CDC guidelines on social distancing, to include maintaining safe distances and using personal protective equipment such as face masks and gloves. Visitors should expect that certain portions of a cemetery typically open to the public may be closed (for example, public information centers, chapels). Please contact the local cemetery for more information.

The National Cemetery Scheduling Office in St. Louis will continue to provide scheduling services for the duration of the current emergency. To schedule a burial, please call 800.535.1117, option 1.

While we will work with families to schedule committal services once the crisis passes, we want to honor and remember these veterans now. So VA has launched a new web page, Roll of Honor. The site provides an opportunity to remember those veterans interred during this crisis and reflects interments in our cemeteries starting April 13. Each day, NCA will add the names, branch of service and location of burial for each veteran interred in a national cemetery on the previous day. Those interred during this crisis will also be memorialized with individual profile pages in the Veterans Legacy Memorial after the cemetery updates the Veteran's interment record.

Updates on the operating status of individual national cemeteries are posted below on this page and on our social media pages:;

For more information about the government's response to COVID-19 please visit: