Mask Guidance

All employees, contractors, family pass holders and visitors, regardless of vaccination status, must wear masks while indoors at ANC.

 
Published on Thursday, July 29, 2021

Wreaths Across America: Update 11/25/2020

11/25/2020

Arlington National Cemetery Announces
Wreaths Across America Event Update

 

ARLINGTON, VA – Arlington National Cemetery (ANC) and Wreaths Across America (WAA), along with our partners the U.S. Army Military District of Washington (MDW) and the 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment, “The Old Guard” (TOG), will safely lay and recover approximately 267,000 wreaths to honor our nation’s heroes and their family members this December.

We developed this plan to balance our security posture and health and safety requirements with the desire to allow limited in-person participation. Therefore, family pass holders of those interred at ANC and Soldiers’ and Airmen’s Home National Cemetery (SAHNC) will be able to lay wreaths in person at designated times. Members of the general public can take part in this year’s National Wreath Day in a virtual setting.

This plan enables us to preserve our capability to execute our primary mission to bury our nation’s service members and their eligible family members with the honor and dignity the American people have come to expect from Arlington National Cemetery.

Event schedule:

Sunday, December 13: Family pass holders only will be welcomed to lay wreaths at their loved ones’ graves from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The cemetery will be closed to the general public.

Monday through Friday, December 14-18: The cemetery will be closed to the general public, enabling the MDW and TOG soldiers to safely place wreaths on graves while ANC simultaneously conducts over 100 funerals during the week. Family pass holders are welcome to visit the cemetery daily from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. to place their private wreaths flowers.

Saturday, December 19: A small group of Wreaths Across America team members will place wreaths in a designated section of the cemetery, and the National Wreath Day event will be broadcast for the public to experience.  The broadcast link and time will be available closer to the event. Family pass holders are welcome to visit the cemetery from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. to place their private  wreaths or flowers.

During the week of December 13-19, the cemetery will be closed to the general public.

Sunday, December 20: The cemetery will reopen to the public. Visitors are welcome to place graveside tributes of privately purchased wreaths or flowers in accordance with our floral policy, located at: www.arlingtoncemetery.mil/Funerals/After-the- Funeral/Floral-Wreath-Tributes-at-Gravesite.

Arlington National Cemetery is complying with the Department of Defense directives and supplemental “Force Health Protection Guidance for the Novel Coronavirus Outbreak,” and with current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance for this virus. The health protection of our workforce and our visitors is a top priority, and ANC maintains our commitment to honor the nation’s veterans who rest on these iconic grounds.

Please continue to check this website and @ArlingtonNatl (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) for the most updated visitor information, the virtual event broadcast link and COVID-19 policies and procedures, or contact our call center at 877-907-8585.


Frequently Asked Questions
 

PUBLIC PARTICIPATION AND SCHEDULE OF EVENTS

Q. What can the public expect at Arlington National Cemetery for Wreaths Across America? 

A. Unfortunately, including the general public is not possible during the pandemic, and the cemetery will be closed to the public from December 13 to 19. Our visitors can expect this year’s event to be executed in a different manner from previous years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This year’s event will be a multi-day, phased plan involving family pass holders, the Military District of Washington (MDW), soldiers from the 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) and the Wreaths Across America organization.

This approach will enable these partners to safely lay and recover approximately 267,000 wreaths at Arlington National Cemetery (ANC) and Soldiers’ and Airmen’s Home National Cemetery (SAHNC). This plan will also preserve MDW’s and ANC’s capabilities to execute our primary core missions, chiefly to bury our nation’s service members and their eligible family members with the honor and dignity the American people have come to expect from Arlington National Cemetery.

The public can join in two ways:  First, join our #Today I Remember social media event by visiting our Facebook page starting on Sunday, November 29. Go to @ArlingtonNatl for details.

Secondly, we will be featuring a National Wreath Day (December 19) virtual experience for those who cannot join us on December 19. We will publish the broadcast link as we get closer to the event.

The ANC-WAA schedule of events is as follows:

•  During the week of December 13-19, the cemetery will be closed to the general public.

•  Sunday, December 13: Family pass holders only will be welcome to lay wreaths at their loved ones’ graves from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The cemetery will be closed to the general public.

•  Monday through Friday, December 14-18: The cemetery will be closed to the general public, enabling the MDW and TOG soldiers to safely place wreaths on graves while ANC simultaneously conducts over 100 funerals during the week. Family pass holders are welcome to visit the cemetery daily from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. to place their private wreaths or flowers.

•  Saturday, December 19: A small group of the Wreaths Across America team will place wreaths in a select designated section of the cemetery, and the National Wreath Day event will be broadcast for the public. The broadcast link will be published on our website closer to the event.

Family pass holders are welcome to visit the cemetery daily from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. to place their private wreaths or flowers.

•  Sunday, December 20: Visitors to the cemetery are welcome to place graveside tributes of privately purchased wreaths or flowers in accordance with our floral policy: www.arlingtoncemetery.mil/Funerals/After-the-Funeral/Floral-Wreath-Tributes-at-Gravesite.


Q. Are Department of Defense (DoD) ID holders authorized to enter the cemetery between December 13 and 19? 

A. During the week of December 13-19, ANC will be closed to the public, which includes DoD ID cardholders. Only family pass holders and those attending services will be admitted into the cemetery. 


Q. Who will be allowed to be in the cemetery? 

A. During the week of December 13-19, the cemetery will be closed to the general public.

•  On December 13, family pass holders only will be welcome to lay wreaths on their loved ones’ graves.

•  From December 14 to December 19, the cemetery will be closed to the public in order to enable Military District of Washington soldiers to safely place wreaths on graves while ANC simultaneously conducts over 100 funerals during the week.

•  On December 19, a small group from the Wreaths Across America team will place wreaths in a select designated section in order to enable a virtual experience for the public. This virtual National Wreath Day event will be broadcasted, and the broadcast link will be published on our website closer to the event.

•  On December 20, the cemetery will reopen to the public. Visitors to the cemetery are welcome to place graveside tributes of privately purchased wreaths or flowers in accordance with our floral policy, located on the cemetery website at: www.arlingtoncemetery.mil/Funerals/After-the-Funeral/Floral-Wreath-Tributes-at-Gravesite.


Q. How do we know the event will not be cancelled again? 

A. ANC is committed to ensuring the honoring of service through the placement of wreaths on appropriate graves and markers in December 2020. We will continue to assess risk conditions and will consult with Army senior leaders and Wreaths Across America if conditions change. Thank you for your patience as we navigate safe planning and an ever-changing COVID-19 environment.


Q. Why is the cemetery closing to the public during WAA this year? 

A. ANC did not make this decision lightly. In order to ensure the health and safety of the ANC workforce and the soldiers who execute the highest standards of honors every day, even during a pandemic, we must take this public health approach. The public can join the National Wreath Day event virtually, and they are welcome to participate in our “Today I Remember” social media campaign. Please visit www.arlingtoncemetery.mil and @ArlingtonNatl for information on both.

The cemetery will reopen to the public beginning on December 20. Visitors can place graveside tributes of privately purchased wreaths or flowers in accordance with our floral policy, located on the cemetery website at: www.arlingtoncemetery.mil/Funerals/After-the- Funeral/Floral-Wreath-Tributes-at-Gravesite.


FAMILY PASS HOLDER INFORMATION

Q. Will ANC grant an exception for wreath placement for individuals who cannot travel to the cemetery on December 13?

A. ANC cannot accommodate any exceptions for individual wreath placement for individuals who donated a Wreaths Across America wreath. WAA wreath placement for family pass holders will only take place on Saturday, December 13.  Family pass holders are welcome to lay a private wreath on other days. 

Q. What is a family pass holder? 

A. A permanent family pass is issued to the next of kin (family pass holder) at the time of the interment. Additional permanent passes are available for the parents, spouse, siblings and children of the deceased. For application instructions, click this link: https://www.arlingtoncemetery.mil/Portals/0/Docs/ANCParkingPass%20Jan%202020.pdf?ver=2020-01-03-133814-687

Q. How many people can be admitted on a family pass? 

AFamily members are welcome to come together as a group, and will receive a wreath. Staff will be on the ground to support with information and provide any additional assistance needed.

Q. How many wreaths can a family pass holder place in the cemetery? 

A.  We would ask all family pass holders to place wreaths only on their own family member’s grave, in order to allow other families to honor their loved ones. However, we remind all families that due to the volume of wreaths that need to be placed, your loved one may already have a wreath on their grave when you arrive. Please take comfort in knowing your loved one was visited by another family member or a member of the 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard).

Q. Can family pass holders place wreaths on friends' graves or other graves? 

ABecause we are not able to have a scheduling system for each individual family, we remind all families that a wreath may already be placed on your loved one’s grave. We ask that attention and consideration be given so that families will have the opportunity to place a wreath on their own loved one’s grave, should they chose to do so on December 13. We ask that you place wreaths only on your family member’s graves.

Q. How will ANC limit people from decorating numerous graves?  

A.  We want to ensure that every family has the opportunity to place a wreath on their loved one’s grave. We ask that family pass holders place their wreath at the grave of their family member and respect others’ opportunities to do the same.

Q. Do visitors have to physically have their family pass, or can they show it on their phone? 

A. For the safety and security of our staff and visitors, we ask family pass holders to physically present their family pass when they arrive at the cemetery. Temporary passes will not be issued on this day. To enter the cemetery, visitors must have their ANC-issued family pass and a face mask in their possession.

Q. Will new family passes be issued during this time? 

A. Applications for permanent passes are available at the Welcome Center Information Desk and the Administration Building, or you may print this form: https://www.arlingtoncemetery.mil/Portals/0/Docs/ANCParkingPass%20Jan%202020.pdf?ver=2020-01-03-133814-687.

Q. After a family pass holder lays a wreath, can they visit other parts of the cemetery? 

A. No. We are requesting all family pass holders to lay a wreath at their loved one’s grave and then to depart the cemetery.

Q. What are the instructions for family pass holders?

December 13, 2020 Family Pass Holder Instructions:

•  The cemetery will be open to family pass holders from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Family pass holders may come into the cemetery to lay wreaths (provided by Wreaths Across America) at their loved ones’ graves.

•  Family pass holders will be allowed entry into the cemetery in their vehicles as they are on any other day. Each vehicle must have a family pass, and each passenger must show an ID and a face covering.

•  Family pass holders may also arrive by Metro or park in the ANC garage and walk in through our visitor screening area, as long as they bring their family pass.

•  Family pass holders will be authorized to enter the cemetery as they currently can, with valid identification and masks for everyone in a vehicle. Parking will be available in the ANC parking garage until it is full.

•  WAA staff will be distributing wreaths to family pass holders in the funeral queuing lot across from the Administration Building.

•  Wreaths will be distributed from a central location. Families will be asked to proceed to their loved one’s gravesite and then depart the cemetery.

On December 14-18, the cemetery will be closed to the public to allow wreaths to be laid at remaining gravesites by members of the 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment, “The Old Guard.” There will be no general public participation.

Family pass holders may still come to the cemetery this week and lay their personal wreaths or flowers, but no Wreaths Across America wreaths will be available.

On December 19, family pass holders are welcome to visit the cemetery daily from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. to place their private wreaths or flowers.

FUNERALS

Q. Will Wreaths Across America impact any funerals? 

A. No. We will continue to carry out our primary and sacred mission to inter our nation’s service members, veterans and eligible family members. We have planned an event that will ensure each family has the most dignified and honorable burial service which they have come to expect from Arlington National Cemetery.

Q. Will my loved one's funeral be cancelled to accomodate Wreaths Across America? 

A. No. We will continue to carry out our primary and sacred mission to inter our nation’s service members, veterans and eligible family members.

SAFETY AND SECURITY

Q. How does the new WAA plan fall within the Virginia governor's latest restrictions of 25 people for outdoor events? 

A. Because Arlington National Cemetery is a federal entity, it is not bound by the Commonwealth of Virginia’s restrictions. However, we are working closely with the Military District of Washington, and we are doing our best to align our processes and procedures with the states of Virginia and Maryland, and the District of Columbia, to be as consistent as possible.

Q. What steps are being taken to keep the cemetery safe? 

A. In addition to complying with the DoD directives and supplemental “Force Health Protection Guidance for the Novel Coronavirus Outbreak,” and with current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance for this virus, ANC has a mandatory face coverings policy which we are requiring all participants to abide by during the event.

The health protection of our workforce and our visitors is a top priority, and we will continue to ensure that our personnel have the most up-to-date information on appropriate measures to prevent potential spread of the virus.

Q. What if COVID conditions change? 

A. The health protection level at ANC is determined by the Commander, Military District of Washington. In coordination with his staff, ANC will continue to assess risk and will consult with Army senior leaders and Wreaths Across America if conditions change. Thank you for your patience as we navigate safe planning and an ever-changing COVID-19 environment.