Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall Easter sunrise livestream set for April 12

In a time of social distancing, a long-held tradition will continue at Arlington National Cemetery April 12. While the cemetery will not physically open to the public for the ceremony, a virtual experience will be offered for all, as long as conditions allow. The service will be live streamed from the JBM-HH Facebook event page at https://www.facebook.com/events/157705792123976/.

The service will take place from 6:30 to 7:30 a.m. and features guest speaker Chaplain (Maj. Gen.) Thomas L. Solhjem, the U.S. Army chief of chaplains.

The decision to stream live was made in keeping with the mission to protect the force, preserve readiness and mitigate the risk of transmission of illness among personnel.

The service is an opportunity to practice spiritual wellness said Joint Base Chaplain (Maj.) John Lee, the Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall deputy chaplain.

“As chaplains, we support service members, Families and civilians’ spiritual fitness,” said Lee. “We want everyone to have the opportunity to practice their core.”

At the heart of the Easter message is hope.

“Everyone needs hope,” said Lee. “Even if you’re not Christian, the theme of the service is hope. Human life is not perfect, we all have life challenges. Through resurrection you still have hope to start again.”

For those who may not know the significance of Easter, the chaplain explained, “Easter celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ, it’s the center of Christianity, because of Easter, we are who we are as Christians. The Bible tells us Jesus died on the cross on a Friday and rose again on a Sunday. Every Sunday we are celebrating that Jesus rose again.”

The importance of hosting the ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery, proximal to JBM-HH and the nation’s capital, is something the chaplain is well aware of.

“The significance of this celebration in the National Capital Region is to enhance our community, it’s not just (for) Soldiers and Families,” he said.

“All the patriots that sacrifice for our country are still alive in our hearts. By having this service we are telling that this is important. Fort Myer is connected to Arlington National Cemetery, not just geographically, but spiritually and emotionally. Mentally (the service is) a solemn reminder of the sacrifice that has been made for us to live peacefully.”

Although there are changes to how the service will be viewed, the amount of preparation and commitment to the day will continue.

Religious support specialist Sgt. 1st Class Denise Min said, “This is my first sunrise (at JBM-HH). Everything about the service is unique, (as is) seeing the magnitude (of preparation).”

What makes the ceremony different than others, is the level of collaboration, said Min.

“It’s a joint event … and there will be unique elements (including) the Army band,” she said.

The livestreamed ceremony will be the result months of dedicated work.

“Behind the curtain, (religious support staff members such as Min) are making sure (the event planning is) right and is effective,” Lee said.

The message Lee wants everyone to know is that “Easter is for everyone, (it’s for) people going through difficult times and relationships, (it’s a reminder) they can start again.”

By Emily Mihalik

JBM-HH Public Affairs Specialist