Arlington to Allow Larger Funeral Gatherings, Modified Escorts

Arlington to Allow Larger Funeral Gatherings, Modified Escorts
Military funeral honors are offered for Cmdr. Jesse W. Lewis, Jr., USN, at Arlington National Cemetery on June 29. It was the first funeral service since March 26 to include a caisson (Photo by Elizabeth Fraser/Arlington National Cemetery)

While Arlington National Cemetery remains closed to the public aside from funeral attendees and family pass holders because of COVID-19 concerns, the cemetery as of June 29 will allow a modified escort and larger crowds at military funerals.

 

Among the announced changes:

  • A modified escort for eligible servicemembers will include the following, per the cemetery’s website: “individual service branch body bearers, firing party, escort commander with guidon, escort, bugler, drummer, national colors and chaplain.” The caisson platoon of the Army’s 3rd Infantry Regiment (“The Old Guard”) may be requested. Army and Marine officers with ranks of colonel and above “may receive a caparisoned [riderless] horse,” per the site, “and flag officers from all services may receive the appropriate presidential salute battery (PSB) gun salute.”
  • Funeral attendance is limited to fewer than 50 people, up from fewer than 10.
  • Two family members may visit the administration building to coordinate funeral ceremonies on the day of the event.

 

Other social distancing and facial covering rules remain in place. Visit the Arlington National Cemetery website for the latest updates.

 

The cemetery will be open July 4 for family pass holders from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern, per the website.

 

Cemeteries under the VA’s National Cemetery Administration remain open to the public; all but two of these locations restarted committal services in early June, with policies on ceremony attendance and other matters varying by location. More information is available here.  

 

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About the Author

Kevin Lilley
Kevin Lilley

Lilley serves as MOAA's digital content manager. His duties include producing, editing, and managing content for a variety of platforms, with a concentration on The MOAA Newsletter and MOAA.org. Follow him on Twitter: @KRLilley