VA announces 9/11 day of service at national cemeteries

U.S. Army Sgt. Brian Pomerville (L) and his wife, Tiffany Lee, both from Roanoke, Va., prepare to place flowers during a centennial commemoration event at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, in Arlington National Cemetery, in 2021. The VA called for a day of service at all national cemeteries on 9/11 this year. File Photo by Alex Brandon/UPI

Aug. 31 (UPI) -- The Department of Veterans Affairs said Thursday more than 60 of its national cemeteries will host 9/11 National Day of Service events in recognition of the 22nd anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

The department said volunteers will clean headstones and participate in beautification activities at multiple national cemeteries.

"These events will honor the veterans, service members, law-enforcement personnel, firefighters, and other first responders who served and sacrificed for the nation Sept. 11, 2001, and in the 22 years since," a statement released by the VA said.

VA Under Secretary for Memorial Affairs Matt Quinn said it was fitting to use the day to marshal a nationwide effort to ensure the sites are maintained in their best condition.

"On 9/11, we encourage all Americans to join us at one of our national cemeteries to volunteer and pay tribute to our nation's heroes," Quinn said. "By volunteering on this day of service, by cleaning a headstone and saying their names, we tell these heroes our nation has not forgotten all they sacrificed for us."

The VA National Cemetery Administration said it is partnering with the veteran's charity Carry The Load in organizing the events around the country.

"Cleaning supplies and other materials will be provided, and there is no cost to participate," the VA said.

The day of service will be part of ceremonies taking place throughout the country in observation of the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York, the Pentagon in suburban Washington, D.C., and Shanksville, Pa.