Memorial day weekend is the busiest time in cemeteries across the USA. Grave decoration, plot cleanup, and paying respects to loved ones is a Memorial Day tradition. Most cemeteries have military ceremonies that are led by local veterans associations. A flag ceremony, 21 gun salute and the playing of taps signifies the greatest respect for soldiers from every generation.
This year is going to look very different. While the pandemic precautions have cities cancelling parades, and veteran groups are unable to perform cemetery ceremonies, we can still safely visit cemeteries if we maintain social distancing.
Cemeteries are actually beautiful, peaceful and interesting places to visit any time of the year. Here are some suggested best practices for this weekend’s outing:
- Follow Posted Rules. Look for a sign that gives rules. Every cemetery is different.
- Respect mourners. Be mindful that everyone mourns differently.
- Bring flowers or meaningful token of love.
- Enjoy the nature setting, even if you don’t know anyone buried in the cemetery.
- Genealogy is a great hobby. Take photos and make a list of names and dates to build a family tree.
DON’T DO THIS
- Don’t take rubbings. Take photos instead. Use contrast filters to help read illegible lettering.
- Don’t clean other people’s stones. Permission is best.
- Look but don’t touch or climb. Oils from hands can stain a stone. Climbing is dangerous and could result in harm to you and the stone.
As a family outing, try a scavenger hunt. Here are some things to look for:
- Animals, Bugs and Flowers
- Coins ( they have special meaning so don’t touch them! )
- Unique shapes like tree stumps or mountains
- Oldest date
- Strangest engraved symbol
Or enjoy the trip by:
- Checking out findagrave.com to see if there are any famous people in that cemetery
- Having a picnic
The current stay at home orders have made it hard to find public spaces to enjoy family outings, dates, or a park that isn’t over crowded. Cemeteries offer an interesting place to get your exercise and engage your mind. Explore a cemetery this weekend!