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Public invited to celebrate Veterans Day at Arlington National Cemetery

Veterans Day 2012The 64th annual National Veterans Day Observance, to honor the men and women who have served and continue to serve in the U.S. Armed Forces during war and peacetime, is scheduled to for Saturday, Nov. 11 at Arlington National Cemetery.

The U.S. Army Military District of Washington will conduct a Presidential Armed Forces Full Honor wreath-laying ceremony at 11 a.m. at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, to be immediately followed by an observance program hosted by the Department of Veterans Affairs in Arlington’s memorial amphitheater. A prelude by the United States Air Force Band will begin in the amphitheater at 10:30 a.m.

Both the wreath-laying ceremony and the observance program are free and open to the general public. Tickets are not required to attend these events; however, space is limited to standing room only for the wreath-laying ceremony and seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis in the amphitheater. Attendees are encouraged to arrive to designated locations no later than 9:30 a.m.

Free parking is available for vehicles at the Arlington National Cemetery Welcome Center’s parking lot from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. A free shuttle service will provide transportation to the Memorial Amphitheater beginning at 8 a.m. Walking to the amphitheater is prohibited. After the observance, shuttles will provide transportation back to the welcome center until 2 p.m.

Attendees will be required to pass through a security checkpoint to gain access to the cemetery and ceremony. Prohibited items include: large bags or backpacks, firearms and weapons of any type, laser pointers, aerosol containers, soda cans, umbrellas, coolers, picnic baskets, tripods, lighters, screwdrivers (or similar tools), air horns, personal protection sprays, and insulated beverage containers. Clear plastic water bottles are permitted.

DoD identification card holders will not be permitted to walk from Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall into the cemetery. Instead, they must park their vehicles on post and board a free shuttle bus at the Old Post Chapel. The shuttle service is scheduled to begin at 8 a.m. After the observance, shuttles will provide transportation back to Old Post Chapel.

In an effort to reduce wait times for family members visiting their love ones during the national observance, the following gates will be available for family pass holders:

Memorial Ave.: normal cemetery operating hours
Service Complex Gate (Columbia Pike): 8 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Ord and Weitzel Gate (near Marine Corps War Memorial): 8 a.m. – 1 p.m.

You must be in possession of a valid family pass to enter through all gates. Any questions can be directed to: 1-877-907-8585, Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. EST; Saturday, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. EST.