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Public Memorial Day gravesite event canceled by pandemic

Memorial Day remembrance at Coastal Bend State Cemetery canceled
Posted at 8:09 PM, May 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-24 21:18:45-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — In order to limit large gatherings because of the coronavirus pandemic, a public ceremony will not be held as usual at the Coastal Bend State Veterans Cemetery on Memorial Day.

However, the cemetery will be open over the weekend to allow the public to honor members of the military who have made the ultimate sacrifice.

This year, many cemeteries across the region will change how our fallen heroes will be remembered on Memorial Day.

“I know a lot of us are frustrated to see event after event, and holiday after holiday canceled, but at the Veterans Land Board, which I serve as chair, we decided to not cancel Memorial Day and thought it was too important to not encourage our fellow Texans to spend a little bit of time and be thankful for that ultimate sacrifice our veterans made,” Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush said.

This Memorial Day will look different than years’ past as many ceremonies and programs will be virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We will be holding the first virtual statewide Memorial Day Celebration where we will have a direct feed to one of our cemeteries in Central Texas," Bush said. "We also, as you know, maintain one in Corpus Christi so we are inviting everybody along the Coastal Bend to tune in as well.

"We are excited to welcome Admiral McRaven and other great speakers that are military veterans and talking about their experiences and thanking those who gave the ultimate sacrifice."

This Memorial Day weekend the Coastal Bend State Veterans Cemetery is prohibiting groups from placing miniature flags at gravesites as in years’ past. Instead, the staff has placed more than 2,200 flags on the gravesites.

“We have thousands of tombstones in all four cemeteries that we manage. The federal VA has the national cemeteries throughout the state of Texas," Bush said. "So it is a lot of weight to carry, but our staff was the first ones to suggest this idea to the board, and we eagerly supported it. So I tip my hat off to them as well.”

While the public ceremony has been canceled, the cemetery will be open on Memorial Day weekend for visitation.

Memorial Day is an American holiday, observed on the last Monday of May, honoring the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military.

For more information on the Virtual Memorial Day Ceremony visit: https://vlb.texas.gov/events/2020/05/live-virtual-memorial-day-ceremony.html.