Celebrations marking Veterans Day gave way to somber virtual gatherings Wednesday, with many of the nation’s veterans homes barring visitors to protect their residents from the surging coronavirus that has killed thousands of former members of the U.S. military.
Cemeteries decorated with American flags were silent as well, as many of the traditional ceremonies were canceled. With infections raging again nationwide, several veterans homes are fighting new outbreaks.
In New York City, a quiet parade of military vehicles, with no spectators, rolled through Manhattan to maintain the 101-year tradition of veterans marching on Fifth Avenue. President Donald Trump took part in an observance at Arlington National Cemetery, while President-elect Joe Biden placed a wreath at the Korean War Memorial in Philadelphia.
More than 4,200 veterans have died from COVID-19 at hospitals and homes run by the Department of Veterans Affairs, and nearly 85,000 have been infected, according to the department.
That death toll does not include an untold number who have died in private or state-run veterans facilities, including the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home in Massachusetts, which had nearly 80 deaths earlier this year. Two former administrators were charged with criminal offenses after an investigation found that “utterly baffling” decisions caused