Are you kidding? It’s one boy, one flag and one burial plot. Separated from each other. And it’s outside.
Why in the world would you ban the Boy Scouts from their yearly Memorial Day weekend tradition of honoring military veterans by placing flags on their graves?
I’ve done this before. You get your own “sectors” of the cemetery. Sometimes you are more than a football field apart from other volunteers putting out flags.
This is totally asinine.
It’s the Department of Veteran’s Affairs who has prohibited public events at veterans cemeteries because of COVID-19. Who exactly do they think is going to get sick by walking around, separated from other people? It’s a cemetery.
The government tells us how to protect ourselves and what is safer (like going outdoors) but then they continue to ban things, cancel things and act like North Korean tyrants.
New York’s Suffolk county executive Steve Bellone says, “If we can’t figure out a way to make sure we are placing flags at their graves to honor them, then something is seriously wrong.” His county includes the Calverton and Long Island National Cemeteries. They have more veterans than any other in the nation – even more than the Arlington National Cemetery. The cemeteries have over 500,000 veterans buried in those two cemeteries.
He’s asking the VA to change their mind and get their crap together (my words, not his), and let the local VAs, cemeteries and health departments decide how to do things out at their own cemeteries, not making blanket bans all over the country.
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He wrote a letter to the Secretary of Veterans Affairs and the undersecretary of memorial affairs which said, “I am requesting that the NCA amend its recent decision by allowing local cemeteries to make their own determination to conduct flag placement that is sanctioned by the local health department. Suffolk County will work with our local national cemeteries to develop a plan that will be reviewed by the County Health Department to certify that it meets the current guidance from New York State and the federal government.”
It was the National Cemetery Administration, a federal agency inside of the VA, that cancelled all public memorial day events including the “mass placement of graveside flags.”
Bellone has been able to get fifteen local cemeteries in his county to allow groups to place American flags on the tombstones of military veterans but no word on the VA backing down on their rules for national cemeteries.
If this isn’t fixed, we need someone to organize getting the flags to the cemeteries and getting volunteers all over the country to show up and do what needs to be done. There are 142 national cemeteries in 40 states. Find out what’s happening at the cemeteries were you live, even the local ones, so that honoring these veterans doesn’t slip through the cracks.