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Memorial Day will be different this year. Here are virtual commemoration events in the area

Memorial Day is Monday, May, 25. (WYDaily file/Courtesy of Unsplash)
Memorial Day is Monday, May, 25. (WYDaily file/Courtesy of Unsplash)

While Memorial Day will look a little different this year, there are still some ways you can participate in commemoration.

Colonial Williamsburg will be hosting its first-ever Virtual Memorial Day Ceremony on Monday starting at 10 a.m. Typically, the organization would celebrate Memorial Day in partnership with the Williamsburg Chapter of Sons of the American Revolution to honor those lost during military service, but with the historic area closed to visitors, the commemoration has moved online.

This year the two organizations will gather in the Revolutionary War Cemetery on the grounds of the Governor’s Palace to present a virtual ceremony where participants will reflect on the meaning of duty and sacrifice through word and song. The cemetery is the site where 156 men and two women were buried in 1781.

Highlights of the program will include a presentation of a wreath from the Sons of the American Revolution and a period of silence, which will culminate in a performance of Taps. Cliff Fleet, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation president, will present a preamble to the ceremony.

To learn more about how to view the ceremony, visit Colonial Williamsburg online.

The American Legion Braxton-Perkins Post 25 typically honors fallen service members on Memorial Day in person at the Victory Arch in Newport News. But due to coronavirus concerns, the ceremony will happen virtually, live streamed on Facebook and YouTube.

“Braxton-Perkins American Legion Post 25 and Auxiliary Unit 25, in tradition of honoring our fallen Veterans for over 100 years, will meet at the Victory Arch at 11 am on Memorial Day to remember via a virtual Memorial Day Ceremony,” according to the Facebook event page.

What to participate? The American Legion encourages people to drive by Victory Arch, 2501 West Ave., and honk and wave your American Flag.

The National Cemetery Administration, which manages 42 veterans national cemeteries across the country, including the Hampton National Cemetery at the Hampton VA Medical Center, is not hosting Memorial Day events open to the public this year. You can look up other cemetery locations near you here.

“NCA relies largely on volunteers for placement and retrieval of gravesite flags for Memorial Day and these activities attract thousands of volunteers annually,” according to the announcement. “Limiting the number of volunteers is not practical.”

Instead, cemetery staff will have a wreath-laying ceremony and the NCA will livestream the event or share photos on Facebook.

The cemeteries are open for Memorial Day weekend and visitors can place flags or flowers at the grave sites but must adhere to social distancing guidelines and other rules from the health department, according to the announcement.

Grace Episcopal Church

The Annual Historic Grace Episcopal Church (ca 1697) Yorktown Memorial Day Ceremony and commemoration of the end of World War II will only be available on social media. Visit the Grace Episcopal Church YouTube channel.

It starts at 10 a.m. Monday.

The program will include a reading of the names and service of the 99 known veterans buried in the Grace Church Cemetery; and will be concluded with the playing of Taps and ringing of the Historic Church Bell (ca 1725).


Julia Marsigliano
Julia Marsigliano
Julia Marsigliano is a multimedia reporter for WYDaily. She covers everything on the Peninsula from local government and law enforcement agencies to family-run businesses and weather updates. Before WYDaily, she covered Hampton and Newport News for WYDaily’s sister publication, HNNDaily before both publications merged in December 2018. Julia was born in Tokyo, Japan and moved to Long Island, New York in 2001. A true New Yorker, she loves pizza, bagels and good Chinese food. Send comments, tips and other tidbits to You can follow her on Twitter at @jmarsigliano

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