Arlington National Cemetery Implements Military Funeral Honors with Modified Escort and Increases Funeral Participation


ARLINGTON, VA – Since COVID-19 cases within the National Capital Region are trending downward, Arlington National Cemetery (ANC), in coordination with the U.S. Army Military District of Washington, is implementing the next step in its phased plan to increase public access to the cemetery and to resume larger support to military funeral honors. Karen Durham-Aguilera, Executive Director, Office of Army National Cemeteries and Arlington National Cemetery, states, “Arlington National Cemetery will continue to balance activities to protect our workforce, funeral attendees and family pass holders while we work to accomplish our most sacred mission in this COVID-19 environment.”

ANC remains closed to the public, with exceptions for funeral attendees and family pass holders. Eligible visitors are reminded that the family pass only authorizes visitation to their loved one’s grave. All family pass holders must depart the cemetery immediately following their gravesite visit. Touring the cemetery with a family pass is not authorized.

As of June 29, the following operational changes will be implemented.

  • Military funeral honors with modified escort will now be available for eligible service members.

    • Military funeral honors with modified escort consists of individual service branch body bearers, firing party, escort commander with guidon, escort, bugler, drummer, national colors and chaplain. The 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment’s caisson platoon may also be requested. Additionally, U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps service members with ranks O-6 and above may receive a caparisoned horse, and flag officers from all services may receive the appropriate presidential salute battery (PSB) gun salute.

  • Military funeral honors and dependent honors will continue with branch of service-specific military honors teams.

  • Funeral attendance can be increased from fewer than 10 to fewer than 50 individuals at gravesite.

  • Two family members may enter the Administration Building for coordination on the day of the funeral.

The following operational conditions remain the same.

  • ANC’s face covering policy and social distancing requirements remain in effect.

  • Valid government ID must be presented to enter the cemetery.

  • ANC leadership is ensuring that funeral scheduling staff, the call center, and interment and field operations teams will continue adhering to Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Department of Defense (DoD) guidelines regarding safety and social distancing. This is to protect our workforce, funeral attendees and family pass holders.

  • The ANC team and service branch honor guards continue to train and certify their proficiencies in order to coordinate and perform military funeral honors at the expected level of excellence.

  • ANC operations will continue to cancel and/or reschedule unofficial and public wreath ceremonies two weeks in advance by informing groups, embassies and tour guides.

  • ANC is working with onsite partners the Women in Military Service for America Memorial (WIMSA) and the National Park Service (NPS) to coordinate announcing hours of operation and event schedules. 

  • The Arlington Cemetery Metro stop remains closed.

  • The cemetery’s COVID-19 summer hours remain 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Charles “Ray” Alexander, Jr., Superintendent, Arlington National Cemetery, explains that the Arlington National Cemetery transition plan has four phases and objectives:

  1. Condition setting (setting conditions for re-opening);

  2. Improved funeral support (increased family access);

  3. Restricted reopening (initiate re-opening to the public with limitations);

  4. “New Normal” with resiliency operations (complete re-opening).

Each phase is based on 14-day COVID-19 case and symptom downward trajectories, available health care and testing, and Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia conditions to include DoD regulations and CDC guidance.

For more information, please visit @ArlingtonNatl on social media.