A Memorial Day message from VA Secretary Dr. David Shulkin

This Memorial Day weekend, tens of thousands of Americans will visit our national cemeteries to pay their respects and to honor the fallen.

Moving observances, including “Avenues of Flags,” color guards, gravesite flags, concerts and choirs, and historic displays, will be conducted by Veterans Service Organizations, local community groups, and civic associations.

At Natchez National Cemetery in Mississippi and Grafton National Cemetery in West Virginia, citizens will participate in grand processions. The Natchez procession first took place in 1889 and is over 5 miles long, while the Grafton procession is even older, dating back to just after the Civil War.

At the Black Hills National Cemetery, our Interim Under Secretary for Memorial Affairs, Ron Walters, will speak on the first anniversary of our important Veterans Legacy Program—an innovative VA initiative to extend memorialization of Veterans interred in our cemeteries and increase student interest in history. Black Hills State University is one of the first grant recipients of this program that funds studies of Veterans buried in nearby national, state, and tribal cemeteries.

It has been said, “poor is the Nation that has no heroes, but beggared is the Nation that has and forgets them.” Visiting our national cemeteries is a way of remembering our heroes.

Those who lie in eternal peace in our national shrines did not sacrifice for fame or for rewards; they served and sacrificed for the greater good, for their comrades in arms, and for all of us—so that we and future generations can enjoy the fruits