While the COVID-19 pandemic put the usual Memorial Day observances on hold at Calverton National Cemetery, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs did still host a small private ceremony Monday morning.
Following social distancing guidelines, cemetery leadership gathered with Congressman Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) for remarks that were streamed live on Facebook.
“This Memorial Day is unlike any we’ve experienced,” said Calverton National Cemetery director Mike Picerno told those watching online. “While we may not be able to gather as a group to pay tribute, I know your thoughts and prayers are with us and with those individuals who made [the ultimate sacrifice].”
Mr. Zeldin pointed out the hard work of the cemetery staff as the number of burials has increased during the ongoing pandemic.
“You can always count on the hard-working employees here to get up every morning to come to work and bury a loved one, a hero, with dignity,” the congressman said.
In his speech, Mr. Zeldin noted the sacrifices made during World War II and acknowledged the recent 75th anniversary of VE Day, marking the Allied Forces’ victory in Europe in May 1945.
“That generation is filled with heroes who are buried here in Calverton,” he remarked.
The 26-minute observance, which included a wreath ceremony and the playing of Taps, can be viewed in its entirety below.