New York —

Arlington National Cemetery to remain open only to family pass holders for Memorial Day weekend

Soldiers of the 3rd Infantry Regiment, “Old Guard”, place flags on each grave in Arlington Cemetery.

Chip Somodevilla / .

Memorial Day is more than the unofficial start of summer: It is a day to remember the members of the military service who have made the maximum sacrifice for our freedom.

The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, invited CBS News to the Arlington National Cemetery to witness the placement of flags on the graves of the nation’s heroes.

It is a tradition at Arlington National Cemetery: “Old Guard” soldiers honor the fallen on Memorial Day with 240,000 flags, one for each headstone.

“For families of the fallen, every day is Memorial Day,” Milley told CBS News. But he noted that there are some differences this year, including that the Old Guard is now wearing masks.

“We have been in a very difficult situation with the coronavirus,” said Milley, adding: “You and I do not have masks due to the nature of this interview, but you and I presented ourselves with masks and we will end up with masks.”

The cemetery will be closed to the public this year, but families of the fallen can visit it.

Milley said the changes are a front in the effort against a different type of enemy. “What you see here in Arlington is a great sacrifice,” he said, adding: “But we are in a different kind of conflict with the virus, but we will prevail.”

The 152nd National Memorial Day Celebration to Honor Fallen United States Military Service Members at Arlington National Cemetery will be streamed live at the following link from 9 am ET on Monday, May 25.