The coronavirus pandemic has forced a major change in Nevada’s Memorial Day celebrations.
Annual flag placement events and Memorial Day ceremonies at Nevada Veterans Memorial cemeteries — one in Boulder City and one in Fernley — have been canceled.
A phone recording at the Southern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Boulder City said no Memorial Day ceremony will be held, ending 29 consecutive years of the event to honor fallen veterans and relatives. More than 26,000 flags are placed on veterans grave each year by volunteers in Boulder City on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend.
The cancellation came after cemetery staff and organizers with the National Order of the Trench Rats, Dugout No. 421, in the south and the Nevada Veterans Coalition in the north determined it wasn’t possible to observe safe social distancing protocols to protect veterans, their families and supporters, according to News 4 in Reno.
“Making this change was not a decision that we or the lead veterans service organizations made lightly, and no one is more disappointed than the organizers of these events that they cannot cover the cemetery with flags as they have done in the past. In the end, the safety of our veterans and their families made a modification necessary. Please do know, however, that you are welcome to visit and honor those who have earned our deepest respect as long as you can safely do so,” said Kat Miller, director of the Northern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery.
The Southern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery recording said two videos of virtual Memorial Day ceremonies will be available by May 23. One will be focused on the Boulder City cemetery and one on the Fernley cemetery.
Both cemeteries will be open to the public on Memorial Day. Families will be able to place flags or flowers but must observe social distancing protocols to protect themselves and other visitors.
The public is also encouraged to wear face coverings.
Offices at the cemeteries are closed because of the pandemic.