Memorial Day ceremonies at five state veterans homes and cemeteries will be closed to the public this year due to COVID-19.
The Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs said that the ceremonies, which honor veterans who paid the ultimate price for the United States, will still take place on Monday, May 25.
"Memorial Day is too important to the veteran community not to observe this occasion, even during the current public health emergency," LDVA Secretary COL Joey Strickland said in a press release. "The men and women we honor on this day, and every day, paid the ultimate price for our country so that we may continue to have the freedoms we hold dear. We must never forget their service as well as the sacrifices of their families."
Individual ceremonies will be held for residents and staff of the state veterans facilities.
LDVA says that events will include the reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance, singing of the National Anthem and other patriotic songs, reading the names of fallen veterans and veterans who have passed away in the past year, ringing of the bell in veterans' honor, balloon releases, prayers, playing of Taps and refreshments.
For anyone with a family member currently living in a veterans home, the LDVA asks that they reach out to the homes for more information.
Veterans cemeteries will mark Memorial Day with solemn ceremonies including words of remembrance, raising of the flag, prayers and the playing of Taps on the Carillon bell towers.
While the ceremony is not open to the public, visitation to the cemeteries is encouraged. Visitors should follow social distancing and best hygiene practices.
LDVA says staff at the five state-run cemeteries are now accepting cremains burials in addition to casketed burials. At this time, burial services, including burial honors, are not being held, in keeping with social distancing guidance from the Governor's Office and the National Cemetery Administration.
The state's five veterans homes are the Louisiana Veterans Home in Jackson; the Northeast Louisiana Veterans Home in Monroe; the Northwest Louisiana Veterans Home in Bossier City; the Southeast Louisiana Veterans Home in Reserve; and the Southwest Louisiana Veterans Home in Jennings. The five state-run veterans cemeteries are the Central Louisiana Veterans Cemetery in Leesville; the Southeast Louisiana Veterans Cemetery in Slidell; the Southwest Louisiana Veterans Cemetery in Jennings; the Northeast Louisiana Veterans Cemetery in Rayville; and the Northwest Louisiana Veterans Cemetery in Keithville.
For more information about the Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs, visit www.vetaffairs.la.gov.
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