The Boy Scouts' annual tradition of placing American flags on the grave sites of veterans for Memorial Day is coming to an end this year because of the coronavirus pandemic. Last week, the National Cemetery Administration, which is part of the Department of Veteran Affairs, issued a statement saying that no public events will be held at national cemeteries during Memorial Day weekend.
While the cemeteries will remain open to visitors, large groups will not be allowed to walk through the graves to place the tiny American flags.
Officials in Long Island are asking the VA to reconsider their decision. Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone wrote a letter to the agency, asking for permission to allow local authorities to determine a safe way for the Boy Scouts and other groups to honor those who served their country.
"I am requesting that the NCA amend its recent decision by allowing local cemeteries to make their own determination to conduct flag placement that is sanctioned by the local health department. Suffolk County will work with our local, national cemeteries to develop a plan that will be reviewed by the County Health Department to certify that it meets the current guidance from New York State and the federal government," Bellone wrote, according to Newsday.
Bellone told Fox News that he is confident that the flags can be placed on the graves while volunteers follow proper social distancing guidelines.
"If we can't figure out a way to make sure we are placing flags at their graves to honor them, then something is seriously wrong," he said. "We will take the responsibility to say that this flag placement plan meets the state and national guidelines but give us that opportunity to do it, allow us to honor our fallen heroes."
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