news 5 days ago

Veterans Affairs official lays Memorial Day wreath at Riverside National Cemetery

Redlands Daily Facts, Calif. — Beau Yarbrough Redlands Daily Facts, Calif.

May 22-- May 22--Although major public Memorial Day events at Riverside National Cemetery have been canceled this year due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, the occasion was marked Friday, May 22, with a ceremony that included a senior U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs official laying a memorial wreath to honor the dead.

"Today, we have many families across the nation whose loved ones have died, defending our freedom. Today, we thank them, and we mourn with them for their sacrifice. We must never forget the families and friends who are left behind," Undersecretary for Memorial Affairs Randy Reeves told a small crowd of officials at the cemetery, in an event carried live on the department's Facebook page. "Today, more than ever, we have an obligation to make sure that no veteran ever dies."

Friday's ceremony was the cemetery's only major Memorial Day event this year.

The annual public ceremony was canceled by the VA. The The Garden Grove group, Honoring Our Fallen, which normally places a small American flag at each grave, will not do so this year, but plans to for Veterans Day. And West Coast Thunder 21, in which thousands of motorcyclists visit veterans' cemeteries, is postponed until 2021.

The public can still visit the cemetery. which is open from dawn to dusk, though visitors are asked to maintain social distancing and consider coming earlier in the weekend to ease crowding. Families may place flowers and small flags at graves.

The VA posted a "roll of honor" online, listing those being interred in national cemeteries. Visit it at www.blogs.va.gov/VAntage/roll-of-honor. And, as of May 14, the VA's Veterans Legacy Memorial website, vlm.cem.va.gov, allows visitors to leave a tribute on a veteran's page.

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