Volunteers interested in cleaning headstones in national cemeteries can sign up for a National Day of Service to be held in 65 locations Sept. 10.
All volunteers interested in participating in the National Day of Service should sign up at Carry the Load register.
Most events begin at 10 a.m., with the exception of Quantico, Alexandria, Culpeper and Baltimore National Cemeteries, which begin at 9 a.m. Upon arrival at the national cemetery, volunteers are asked to assemble at the main flagpole for a brief ceremony followed by instructions about national cemetery protocols and headstone cleaning. A special feature to the event is the ability for volunteers to post tributes and photos on VA’s Veterans Legacy Memorial (VLM).
“The National Day of Service is an inspiring way to bring into focus the lives lost in the terrorist attacks on our country,” said Under Secretary for Memorial Affairs, Matt Quinn. “As we reflect on the tragic events of 20 years ago, it is also appropriate to remember and honor the men and women who have given their lives throughout the Global War on Terror. Volunteering to assist with beautification projects to keep our cemeteries at national shrine standards is a fitting tribute to thank all of our brave heroes for their sacrifices on our behalf.”
This year, VA’s National Cemetery Administration is partnering with several different organizations including Carry The Load, AmeriCorps, Partnership for Public Service, RallyPoint-The Military Network, Hunter Seven, VA Office of Information Technology and VA Center for Development and Civic Engagement (Voluntary Service) to help spread the word about the National Day of Service.
All VA national cemeteries remain open and continue to provide interment services for Veterans and eligible dependents during this health crisis. VA national cemeteries have adapted operational procedures throughout the pandemic to prevent the spread of coronavirus based on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance. The CDC issued new guidance requiring all individuals to wear a mask indoors in areas where the transmission rate is High or Substantial, regardless of vaccination status.
In accordance with this guidance, signage will be posted at each public entrance at VA national cemeteries if face masks are required in the cemetery’s indoor facilities. All employees and visitors, vaccinated or not, must wear masks in Federal buildings and indoor spaces if so directed.
Read more important COVID-19 cemetery requirements
List of Participating VA National Cemeteries:
Among the nearly 3,000 Americans who lost their lives are 47 military service members and dependents who are interred in 15 VA national cemeteries across the country. The September 11 victims are permanently memorialized in this short video NCA Remembers September 11, 2001.
The Veterans Legacy Memorial was launched in May 2019 to extend the memorialization of more than 3.9 million Veterans interred in VA cemeteries, Veterans such as September 11 victim Edward Martinez buried at Calverton National Cemetery.
Volunteers are encouraged to post tributes or photos as a “Visitor” to a Veteran’s memorial page while at the VA cemetery for the National Day of Service. Those not able to attend in person on Sept. 10 are still encouraged to visit VLM and post tributes or photos to a loved one’s page.
In a May 2020 video, VA Secretary Denis McDonough said, “One great way to pay virtual tribute is with a visit to the Veterans Legacy Memorial website.”
FEMA is offering a COVID-19 Funeral Assistance reimbursement program. For more information please visit: FEMA FAQ.
Information courtesy National Cemetery Administration.