Many Memorial Day ceremonies go virtual this year

Many events to honor our fallen heroes go online or not open to public

Masked soldier places flags on graves at Arlington National Cemetery.
Masked soldier places flags on graves at Arlington National Cemetery. (AP photo)

The traditions of your Memorial Day barbecues may be tried and true, but in the times of a pandemic, they’re bound to look a bit different this year.

Most Memorial Day parades and public ceremonies have been canceled, but there are other ways you can still pay tribute to those who gave the ultimate sacrifice serving the nation.

Jacksonville has pre-taped its Memorial Day ceremony at the nation’s second-largest memorial wall. While you can’t attend in person, the event online features speeches from city and military leaders, songs from the Jacksonville Voices and music from Navy Band Southeast. Watch it below.

Public events at all national cemeteries, including the longtime tradition of Boy Scouts and other groups placing American flags on the graves of veterans, have been canceled.

The U.S. Army Military District of Washington will conduct the traditional Presidential Armed Forces Full Honor Wreath-Laying Ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. It was not open to the public this year due to the pandemic.

The ceremony, hosted by Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, was modified to practice physical distancing to ensure the safety of everyone attending. President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump placed the wreath about 10 a.m.

President Donald Trump stands with Vice President Mike Pence and Gen Omar Jones, Commanding General at Joint Force Headquarters, National Capital Region and United States Army Military District of Washington, at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery, in honor of Memorial Day, Monday, May 25, 2020, in Arlington, Va. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

At noon, President Trump will participate in a Memorial Day Ceremony at Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine in Baltimore. It is also closed to the public but will be livestreamed on News4Jax.com.

Each national cemetery will still conduct a wreath-laying ceremony along with a moment of silence and the playing of Taps. Many will be livestreamed on the National Cemetery Administration’s Facebook page.

Memorial Day

Today, we will #HonorThem Join us in a moment of silence on Memorial Day to show our respect for those who paid the ultimate sacrifice while serving their country and protecting our freedom. #ServeWithHonor Video by Sgt. Angel Vasquez

Posted by U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs on Friday, May 22, 2020

You can also pay tribute to a service member interred at a National Cemetery by leaving a comment online at the Veterans Legacy Memorial.

For the first time in its 31-year history, the National Memorial Day Concert will be held virtually. The concert, hosted by actors Joe Mantegna and Gary Sinise, will feature the U.S. Army Chorus, the National Symphony Orchestra, and Broadway star Kelli O’Hara among others.

It will be livestreamed on PBS.org, YouTube and Facebook at 8 p.m. ET.

Ancestry is also livestreaming a virtual “Memorial Day Parade of Heroes” on its Facebook page at 11 a.m. The 45-minute production will be hosted by Kathie Lee Gifford and feature musical performances by singer Tori Kelly. ic