Memorial Day spirit triumphs over virus
Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs staff at the state’s five veterans homes and five veterans cemeteries will host ceremonies to honor veterans on Memorial Day May 25.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic this year, these ceremonies will not be able to be opened to the public as in previous years.
“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. “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.”
The veterans homes’ will each host individual Memorial Day events for residents and staff, including 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. While our homes are not able to open these events to the public this year, please feel free to contact your loved one’s home for more information.
The veterans cemeteries’ staff will host solemn ceremonies at each cemetery, including words of remembrance, raising of the flag, prayers and the playing of Taps on the Carillon bell towers. While these ceremonies are not able to include public gatherings on Memorial Day this year, families and friends may still visit these cemeteries, following social distancing and hygiene best practices.
Families and friends are also encouraged to post pictures of their loved ones in their honor on the LDVA Facebook page at www.facebook.com/VetAffairs.La.Gov through Memorial Day.
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.