A DIFFERENT MEMORIAL DAY: Navy photo of Quantico National Cemetery references a flag placement tradition in national cemeteries that will be altered this year by the pandemic.

Memorial Day will be observed from afar in many places this year.

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The annual ceremony at the Arkansas State Veterans Cemetery in North Little Rock, for example, will not be open to the public but will be streamed on Facebook at 10 a.m. Monday.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson will speak.

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Also, the Commemorative Air Force’s (CAF) Razorback Wing, based in Little Rock will fly a Ryan PT-22 Recruit, World War II trainer aircraft over the cemetery in honor of those who died in military service.

The traditional public observance won’t be held at Little Rock National Cemetery, but the cemetery will be open and it has this guidance for visitors.

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The National Cemetery Administration (NCA) is committed to observing Memorial Day 2020 in a manner that honors those who sacrificed for our Nation while protecting the health and safety of visitors and our team members. All 142 VA national cemeteries will be open for visitation throughout the Memorial Day weekend. Families and friends are welcome to place flowers or individual flags at Veterans’ gravesites. Cemetery visitors are asked to adhere to CDC, state and local health and safety guidelines and local travel restrictions.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, NCA is using existing Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), state and local public health guidance to maintain physical distancing, limit the size of gatherings, and encourage vulnerable populations to remain sheltered in place to inform our decisions. The health and safety of visitors, Veterans, volunteers and team members must be our primary consideration at this time. 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. NCA relies largely on volunteers for placement and retrieval of gravesite flags for Memorial Day and these activities attract thousands of volunteers annually. Limiting the number of volunteers is not practical. Cemetery staff will conduct a wreath-laying ceremony to officially commemorate Memorial Day. While we cannot extend an invitation to the public to attend due to health and safety concerns, NCA will share pictures of the event on Facebook and other social media.