VA Caribbean Healthcare System
Puerto Rico National Cemetery will commemorate Memorial Day with a solemn Wreath Laying Ceremony
May 20, 2020
“This year, by necessity, will be different from past Memorial Day observances,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. “While the department can’t hold large public ceremonies, VA will still honor Veterans and service members with the solemn dignity and respect they have earned through their service and sacrifice.”
The Department of Veterans Affairs Puerto Rico National Cemetery (PRNC) will host a solemn Memorial Day Wreath Laying Ceremony, accompanied by brief remarks, a moment of silence, and the playing of Taps. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this will not be a public ceremony. At 03:00 p.m., a one minute of silence will be observed for quiet reverence and reflection on the sacrifices made by deceased Veterans.
Live photographs of the ceremony and a video message by local VA Executive Directors will be shared on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/VACaribbean/ at 08:00 a.m. on Memorial Day.
Other public events typically associated with Memorial Day at national cemeteries, including group placement of flags at gravesites, will not take place. However, the PRNC will be open Memorial Day weekend from 07:00 a.m. to 05:00 p.m. for public visitation.
Cemetery visitors are asked to adhere to health and safety guidelines and maintain physical distancing while visiting. Visitors are also urged to consider visiting Friday, Saturday or Sunday to avoid possible crowds on Memorial Day. Families may continue the tradition of placing flowers and small American flags at their Veteran’s gravesite.
VA will also be launching a new way for the public to pay tributes to Veterans at the Veterans Legacy Memorial (VLM). Starting Thursday, May 14, VLM will permit online visitors to leave a comment of tribute on a Veteran’s page, introducing a new way to observe Memorial Day. The tribute allows visitors to voice memories and appreciation for a Veteran’s service. All comments will be reviewed for appropriateness prior to being posted.
The Boy Scouts of America (BSA), A Scout Salute to Fallen Heroes”, continues to honoring our nation’s fallen heroes this Memorial Day by posting public tributes to our veterans in partnership with the National Cemetery Administration and by participating in the National Moment of Remembrance with a special Scout salute: https://www.scouting.org/scoutsalute/.
VA operates 142 national cemeteries and 33 soldiers' lots and monument sites in 41 states and Puerto Rico. More than 5 million Americans, including Veterans of every war and conflict, are buried in VA cemeteries. Fulfilling President Lincoln’s call “to care for him who shall have borne the battle,” VA also provides headstones, markers or medallions for Veterans buried in State and Territorial Veterans' cemeteries or interred in private cemeteries.