There will be no public Memorial Day wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Instead, officials will hold a private wreath-laying ceremony with limited guests invited by the Office of the Secretary of Defense. The decision was made out of concern for the health and safety of attendees.
Ordinarily, there would be a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, with ceremonial units from the uniformed services performing the ritual. The president of the United States often lays the wreath himself to mark the national observance of the holiday, and the event attracts thousands of attendees.
Since the outbreak started in March, several thousand veterans have tested positive, and Northern Virginia — where Arlington National Cemetery is located — has been ordered completely closed by the governor until several days after Memorial Day.
MAIN PHOTO: ARLINGTON, Va. (May 28, 2012) President Barack Obama lays a wreath at the tomb of the unknown soldier during Memorial Day services at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington Va, May 28, 2012. Obama urged all Americans to remember those who sacrificed for the country and help service members still feeling the effects of war. (DoD photo by Erin A. Kirk-Cuomo)