Pets will no longer be allowed to accompany visitors to Arlington National Cemetery. The Army has made several new policies concerning activities at the Army National Military Cemeteries. The new policies are only for the two cemeteries that fall under that Department of Army National Cemeteries: The United States Soldiers’ & Airmen’s Home National Cemetery and Arlington National Cemetery.
According to the Army’s announcement, pets have “impacted the decorum” of funeral services and ceremonies at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. A statement from Arlington National Cemetery said, “This policy has been deemed necessary to alleviate these impacts and continue to provide the type of respectful and contemplative space that Arlington National Cemetery strives to be for all of its guests.”
[Full announcement: http://www.arlingtoncemetery.mil/About/Policies-and-Public-Notices/Pet-Policy]
Under the new policy, only service animals and working military dogs will be allowed on cemetery grounds.
The ban on pets was only one update to cemetery police. In addition, the new policy closes the cemetery to bicyclists. In a statement issued Oct. 17, cemetery officials wrote bicyclists disrupt funeral services, affect other visitors’ experiences and pose safety concerns. On October 26, however, an announcement on Arlington National Cemetery’s web site confused the issue a bit, by stating, “Family members and guests desiring to visit a loved one’s grave can still show their family pass and, with that pass, ride their bicycles to and from the grave site.”
[Bicycle use policy: http://www.arlingtoncemetery.mil/Visit/Getting-Here/Getting-Around/Bicycle-Use-Policy]
A few other things that are prohibited at Arlington and the US Soldiers’ & Airmen’s Home National Cemeteries, according to § 553.33:
*Conduct any memorial service or ceremony within an Army National Military Cemetery without the prior approval of the Executive Director.
*Engage in any orations, speeches, or similar conduct to assembled groups of people, unless such actions are part of a memorial service or ceremony authorized by the Executive Director.
*Display any placards, banners, flags, or similar devices within an Army National Military Cemetery, unless first approved by the Executive Director for use in an authorized memorial service or ceremony. This rule does not apply to clothing worn by visitors.
*Use the cemetery grounds for recreational activities (e.g., physical exercise, running, jogging, sports, or picnics).
*Operate a musical instrument, a loudspeaker, or an audio device without a headset within an Army National Military Cemetery.
* Leave any vehicle in the Arlington National Cemetery Visitors’ Center parking area or Soldiers’ and Airmen’s Home National Cemetery visitors’ parking area more than thirty minutes outside of established visiting hours or anywhere else in an Army National Military Cemetery outside of established visiting hours.
Full text of the policy changes at Arlington National Cemetery can be found at regulations.gov.