mill springs

This photo from 2019 shows a crowd listening to Brigadier General Howard P. Hunt III during Mill Springs National Cemetery's Memorial Day ceremony. No programs will be held at any of the country's 142 national cemeteries this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

For the first time in many people’s memory, Mill Springs National Cemetery will not conduct its annual Memorial Day ceremony.

Ceremonies are canceled at all of the 142 national cemeteries throughout the country.

Clarence Floyd, the chaplain for the American Legion Post No. 38, confirmed that he and the American Legion were told back in March that the ceremony would not take place.

The cemetery will be open for visitation, however. According to the National Cemetery Administration (NCA) – www.cem.va.gov – all national cemeteries will be open for families and friends to place flowers or flags at the graves of their loved ones.

All visitors are asked to follow social distancing guidelines in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including maintaining six feet of distance between visitors and limiting the number of people in a group.

NCA is asking that those who are considered vulnerable to COVID-19 to remain sheltered in place.

“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.”

Additionally, restrictions placed on gatherings and funerals have meant no graveside services have taken place at Mill Springs National Cemetery for a couple of months.

Floyd said that the last day the American Legion Color Guard performed military honors was March 3.

He said a meeting is scheduled next week to determine whether the Color Guard will be able to resume performing military honors “in a limited capacity.”

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