- Massachusetts Department of Veterans' Services
- Executive Office of Health and Human Services
Media Contact for Massachusetts Veterans’ Memorial Cemeteries Resume Military Committal Services
Anthony Preston, Director of Legislative and Media Relations
Agawam, Winchendon — Beginning July 3, 2020, the Massachusetts Veterans’ Memorial Cemeteries (MVMC) in Agawam and Winchendon will resume Military Committal Services for veterans who have died. Military Committal Services include the Folding of the Flag, Taps, and a Firing Volley. Military Committal Services are resuming with revised protocols based on infection control guidance from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH).
Beginning on March 17, 2020, Military Committal Services were temporarily paused to protect the health and safety of families of the deceased and those working at the cemeteries and performing the ceremonies during the COVID-19 public health emergency.
“The Commonwealth is exceedingly grateful for the service and commitment of the veteran community and their loved ones, and the Department of Veterans’ Services is pleased to resume Military Committal Services at the Massachusetts Veterans’ Memorial Cemeteries in line with public health protocols,” said Acting Veterans’ Secretary Cheryl Lussier Poppe. “Military Committal Services are one of the many ways that we as a community can demonstrate our gratitude to families and pay final respects for those who served our nation.”
As the cemeteries prepare for the resumption of services, modifications will be made to ensure the safety of those present during the COVID-19 public health crisis. These modifications include:
- Limiting the service to ten family members or fewer
- Requiring face coverings be worn while in the Chapel; those without a mask will be provided one
- Spacing chairs six feet apart in the Chapel
- Disinfecting chairs, restrooms, doorknobs, and other high-touch areas between each service
- Placing markers on the ground to help direct the movement of individuals for social distancing
- Opening the entrance and exit doors to provide adequate ventilation
- Making alcohol-based hand sanitizers available at the entrance and exit of the Chapel
Employees, service members, and volunteers at both cemeteries will be required to maintain social distancing, and will be provided training on social distancing and hygiene protocol.
Family members and Funeral Homes will be provided detailed information on the procedures when they schedule Military Committal Services. Military Committal Services can be scheduled as usual by arranging the services through your Funeral Home, or by calling (413) 821-9500 for Agawam or (413) 821-9501 for Winchendon.