Arlington National Cemetery prepares for Memorial Day reopening

During much of the pandemic, Arlington National Cemetery restricted visitors due to coronavirus concerns. But with the improvement in the number of COVID-19 across the country, the cemetery is once again open to all visitors keen to pay their respects this Memorial Day weekend. David Martin reports.

Video transcript

For the first time in over a year, more than 150 national veterans cemeteries are open to the public this Memorial Day without COVID restrictions. David Martin of CBS was at Arlington National Cemetery today, where families and sacred traditions return.

DAVID MARTIN: It was rising and raining this morning in Section 60 of Arlington National Cemetery, where the dead from Iraq and Afghanistan are buried. Sarah [INAUDIBLE] His brother, Special Forces Captain Andrew Ross, was killed in Afghanistan in 2018. He was 29, had just married and was planning to start a family. Instead, he went home to section 60.

Most of the people resting here have chosen to do this 9/11 post. Most of these children were children when this happened. They chose to go into this very long war and to give their lives for you, for me.

DAVID MARTIN: Navy Lance Corporal Terry Honeycutt was just 19 when he stepped on a mine in Afghanistan in 2010. His youthful idealism is etched on his gravestone.

CHRISTINE HONEYCUTT: Next week he would be 30 years old.

DAVID MARTIN: His mother, Christine, comes here just to be close.

CHRISTINE HONEYCUTT: It just makes me feel better to sit down and talk to him.

DAVID MARTIN: Over the past year, COVID has kept Arlington closed to everyone except family.

CHRISTINE HONEYCUTT: I have never seen Arlington be more empty.

DAVID MARTIN: Does it make a difference in the way you feel when you go there?

CHRISTINE HONEYCUTT: I love to see Arlington have visitors because everyone buried there is worth remembering.

DAVID MARTIN: Arlington is opening up to visitors again and Ryan Manion Borek has organized an army of volunteers to make sure everyone here is honored.

RYAN MANION BOREK: Let these families know that someone over this weekend spent time standing in front of the graves of their loved ones and remembering them.

DAVID MARTIN: Ryan’s brother, Travis, was buried here in 2010. Over the next 11 years, look at how many more headstones have been added.

RYAN MANION BOREK: Now there are so many roads that follow.

DAVID MARTIN: Andrew Ross, killed in 2018, is in the penultimate row. Now that all American troops are returning from Afghanistan and visitors are returning to Arlington, we can all say a Memorial Day prayer. Please have no more rows of headstones in section 60. David Martin, CBS News, Arlington National Cemetery.

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