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Wreath-laying ceremonies canceled at Virginia state veterans cemetery in Suffolk, others because of pandemic

WVEC-TV Norfolk logo WVEC-TV Norfolk 11/24/2020 Brian Farrell
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The Virginia Department of Veterans Services (VDVS) said wreath laying ceremonies at state veterans cemeteries wouldn't take place as usual because of COVID-19 restrictions.

The ceremonies, which normally occur in December, were cancelled for cemeteries in Suffolk as well as Amelia and Dublin.

“We sincerely regret that we must cancel the public portion of the annual wreath laying ceremonies normally held each December at the Virginia Veterans Cemetery in Amelia, the Southwest Virginia Veterans Cemetery in Dublin, and the Albert G. Horton, Jr. Memorial Veterans Cemetery in Suffolk,” said John Maxwell, VDVS Commissioner. “Because of safety concerns, along with recent restrictions on gatherings of more than 25 persons enacted to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus, members of the public will not be able to participate this year in laying memorial wreaths on each veteran’s gravesite.”

Maxwell said that cemetery staff members would work with the volunteers of the Amelia, Dublin, and Suffolk wreath committees to place wreaths on Saturday and Sunday, December 19 and 20.

VDVS asked families of those buried in the cemeteries as well as other people to delay visiting them until the afternoon of December 20. By that time, all wreaths should be placed.

Michael Henshaw, VDVS Director of Cemetery Services, said, “I sincerely hope the community will visit the cemeteries over the holidays to pay their respects to our veterans. Wreaths will remain in place from December 20 until January 4.”

Anyone who visits the Virginia state veterans cemeteries has to wear a face mask, practice social distancing, and follow all COVID-19 guidelines.

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