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President Trump lays wreath at Arlington National Cemetery amid pandemic precautions

Arlington National Cemetery
Getty Images via CNN
Rituals at Arlington National Cemetery during coronavirus.

WASHINGTON, DC -- After two days of playing golf, President Donald Trump made a Memorial Day appearance at Arlington National Cemetery, where he laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

He then headed off to speak at a historic fort in Baltimore where the hoisting of a huge American flag to celebrate an important victory over the British during the War of 1812 inspired “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

Presidents typically honor fallen military members by delivering a speech at the hallowed burial ground across the Potomac River from Washington after laying a wreath. But the pandemic has led to changes this year because of restrictions on gatherings.

Trump was joined by Vice President Mike Pence and his defense secretary. He laid a wreath at the tomb overlooking rolling hills dotted with white tombstones.

First lady Melania Trump and other cabinet members were also in attendance Monday, but officials at the ceremony were standing far apart to maintain social distance.

"This year is different — visually different, of course," CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr observed.

Across the nation, Americans were marking a Memorial Day like no other as the coronavirus pandemic upended traditional commemorations.

While solemn rituals remained, there were other new precautions at Arlington National Cemetery this Memorial Day in the midst of the pandemic.

Visitors are currently not allowed at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, but there is no easing of a tradition where soldiers have kept guard 24 hours a day, seven days a week since July 1937 regardless of weather, war or pandemic.

Masks, social distancing and other safety precautions have all become a part of the solemn rituals and pageantry at the tomb as well as the near daily funerals that still take place in the cemetery.

The new reality: Only 10 family or friends are allowed graveside. As few troops as possible perform funeral honors. Distance is kept, and masks are worn.

Flags that cover caskets are not handed to the next of kin, but are gently laid on a table next to the grave to avoid physical contact, as is the case for funerals in the current environment.

Even the ceremonial rifle platoon on hand to fire off salutes at the end of the services wears masks while the entire funeral parties stay physically separated from one another.

Covid-19 has also managed to idle some of the other iconic scenes at Arlington.

The Army's elite Caisson platoon, which operates the horse-drawn wagons that carry the caskets of those killed on the battlefield, as well as elderly veterans and presidents of the United States, has seen its role in funerals halted since the middle of March.

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      1. Yes he did. He missed Memorial Day 2010 so your statement of “never missed” is false. He did not have to send Joe. Obama was anti-military and anti-veterans. That’s a fact.

  1. My father and uncle are buried at Arlington. During WW2 my father climbed into a rickety B17, shot full of flak holes, each morning and flew from an allied air field in England to bomb targets in occupied France, Belgium, and Germany. He did this to defeat an evil that was separating children from their parents and placing them in cages. My uncle flew the lead C47 that dropped the 101st Airborne Division into Sicily to de-throne Nazi filth who were separating children from their parents. Now we have this piece of Nazi filth fouling this place of honor after he separated children from their parents. Every true American should be outraged that this scum is even allowed to enter this hallowed ground.

    1. The locking of children in cages to separate them from their parents was an Obama Administration policy. Trump just separated them during the processing for their protection. We aren’t talking about US citizens here. We are talking about criminals who are trying to do harm to our country and in the process have endangered the safety of their “children”. Many of them aren’t even related, they are using these kids to get themselves across as a “family” then sell those kids to highest bidder as sex slaves. Let me as you this MarkTurner? When a person commits a crime and goes to jail, do their children go with them? No, they are SEPARATED. Your completely inaccurate comparisons of the Trump Administration to the Nazi’s need to stop. It is completely false and the complete opposite of what Trump stands for. You hate him. He WON THE ELECTION. You can’t handle the truth so you make things up. GET OVER IT.

          1. I don’t know Mr. Soros, however from what I do know of him, he is completely aware of the character of you folks who support the anti-Americans like the orange buffoon, the bible-beating Pence, and ol’ Moscow Mitch.

        1. Except he isn’t. America loves him and you can’t stand it. In the words of James Woods…”He is Vein, Insensitive and Raw but he loves this country more than any President in our life time”. Right on.

          1. You finally said something true. I really can’t stand it and neither can all Americans with a sense of decency.

    2. You’ve got a good delusional imagination but I don’t believe you. Weren’t born in 1961? BTW – Your Obama locked up illegal immigrant children in cages in 2015. How about getting your facts straight.

  2. Obama had to shelter unaccompanied children who at one point in their journey had nowhere to stay. Trump Separated families who were asylum seekers and arrived together, taking children from their parents and sending them to HHS while he put parents in ICE facilities. Big difference! Under Obama being in the US without documentation was mostly a civil matter under Section 1325, while Trump made it a Criminal matter to deter Asylum seekers. Luckily after both Republicans and Democrats said enough is enough, a Federal Judge stepped in in June of 2018 and put a stop to the shame of putting children in cages. Still, Trump found loopholes and kept up his Zero Tolerance policy until most civilized nations shamed him to stop his stupidity.

    1. They aren’t seeking asylum. They’re criminals entering the country illegally. You should ashamed of yourself for supporting these criminals who are exploiting these children that you say you care about.

      1. Ice found a total of 41 asylum seekers had criminal records. When you go to Walmart today, 30% of everyone in the building will have criminal records.

        1. Its kinda like the argument over mail in voting. There have been almost 12 incidences of voter fraud in the entire history of the nation.

          1. Does that include the boxes of mail in ballots the US Postal Service is currently finding? TDS is far more dangerous to liberals than any virus.

          1. Yeah, technically you are right. But the people who were caged and mistreated came here as Asylum seekers. That is not a crime. Furthermore, overstaying your visitors visa is not a criminal offense but civil offense punishable by deportation unless the deportee has actually committed a crime, and then he can be charged and put into a Penitentiary cage. If you are worried about criminals ruining your day go live in any American inner city. See how fast you became a crime statistic.

          2. No it makes them eventual decent hard working Americans and fellow human beings.

  3. Just remember the picture of the railhead at Bergen-Belsen. We’ve all seen it. It almost happened again due to the acts of an anti-American segment in our great nation. Keep in mind the statement made by the orange buffoon after the murder in Charlotte. “There were some ‘very fine people’ on both sides”.

      1. Denial is not just a River in Egypt. Your president said “fine people, on both sides.” Imagine President Roosevelt saying during WW2 that there were “fine people, on both sides? Just like your president; deny, deny, deny and soon they forget what was denied.

          1. Don’t forget David Duke who said he was happy that we finally had a President who stood up for white people. David Duke the White Supremacist, convicted felon, and Grand Wizard of The Knights of The Klu klax Klan. Tell me who your friends are, and I’ll tell you who you are.

  4. God Bless all of the men and women who have sacrificed their lives in order for us to live in a free and Democratic country. They are looking over us hoping their sacrifice was not in vain.

    1. It’s all because of some democrat who suggested that OUR PRESIDENT did not belong at Arlington National on this prestigious day. I don’t care what day it is I WILL DEFEND OUR PRESIDENT.

    1. Your statement is completely false and completely ridiculous. He is a nationalist not a globalist and cares more about America than most Democrats combined. Not only does he have aright to be there he has an obligation. God bless President Donald J. Trump. I bet you can’t name one thing that he has done that is anti-American? And remember no matter what you say you will be wrong because he doesn’t support any version of your socialist, communistic, watered down, wimpy, butt slapped by every coutry in the world America. He supports an AMERICA first, Americans first, stand up for yourself and don’t take crap from other countries America.

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