The Boy Scouts of America will not be planting American flags on veterans’ graves to honor Memorial Day this year because of COVID-19, a Fox News report said Wednesday.
Memorial Day falls on Monday, May 25.
What are the details?
The Department of Veterans Affairs has prohibited all public events at military cemeteries because of the ongoing coronavirus crisis.
Fox News reported that some residents of Long Island, New York — home to more than 500,000 buried veterans — are particularly disturbed by this year’s ban.
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said that Americans and American organizations need to get their priorities straight.
“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,” he told Fox News. “What we’re asking the VA to do is, rather than have a blanket policy across the country, allow the national cemeteries at the local level, to make this determination in conjunction with the local health department. We will take the responsibility to say that this flag placement plan meets the state and national guidelines but give us that opportunity to do it, allow us to honor our fallen heroes.”
Bellone added that it would be a stain on his generation if it were unable to “figure out a way” to “honor the greatest generation” because of the pandemic.
“We just commemorated VE Day, this is the generation that lived through the adversity of the Great Depression, they won World War II. What is it going to say about our generation if we can’t figure out a way to honor the greatest generation by placing flags at their graves on Memorial Day?” Bellone asked.
Fox also reported that Boy Scout troops from California, Maryland, Missouri, and Wisconsin have also nixed plans to visit gravesites this Memorial Day holiday.
In a statement, the National Cemetery Administration — a subsidiary of the VA — says that the pandemic has spurred the decision to cancel all Memorial Day events.
“VA national cemeteries will not be hosting public Memorial Day events,” the statement read, which includes the “mass placement of gravesite flags.”
The statement continued that “Long Island has not yet met the state criteria for reopening, which is why limits on social gatherings on Long Island are still in place.”
While families and community members remain permitted to visit gravesites through the holiday week and weekend, the organization continues to ask that “all visitors adhere to CDC, state, and local health, safety, and travel guidelines.”