President Trump has reinstated Wreaths Across America after Arlington National Cemetery cancelled the annual event due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The Wreaths Across America website notes that each year, the organization carries out its mission to “Remember, Honor and Teach” by coordinating wreath-laying ceremonies at 2,100 locations around the country, in all 50 states including at Arlington National Cemetery. The organization’s 2.2 million volunteers place wreaths that have been sponsored for $15 by patriotic Americans at the gravesites of fallen service members.
This year, thanks to the president’s intervention, National Wreaths Across America Day will be held on December 19.
“Due to the current COVID-19 situation across the nation and within the National Capital Region, it is with great regret that Arlington National Cemetery is canceling Wreaths Across America at Arlington National Cemetery and the Soldiers’ and Airmen’s home cemetery on December 19, 2020,” a press release had stated originally announcing the cancellation.
“We determined that we could not implement sufficient controls to mitigate the risks associated with hosting an event of this size under current and forecasted infection and transmission rates, while still conducting a respectful and honorable public event.”
“We did not make this decision lightly,” Executive Director, Office of Army National Cemeteries and Arlington National Cemetery Karen Durham-Aguilera said. “We understand that although this is disappointing for so many, we could no longer envision a way to safely accommodate the large number of visitors we typically host during this event.”
President Trump tweeted on Tuesday that he had reinstated the event.
“I have reversed the ridiculous decision to cancel Wreaths Across America at Arlington National Cemetery,” the president wrote. “It will now go on!”
Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy wrote on Twitter that he had directed the event to go on.
“I have directed Arlington National Cemetery to safely host Wreaths Across America,” he wrote. “We appreciate the families and visitors who take time to honor and remember those who are laid to rest at our nation’s most hallowed ground.”
Republican Texas Representative Dan Crenshaw had called for the event to be reinstated on Monday.
“This decision to cancel #wreathsacrossamerica must be reversed immediately,” Rep. Crenshaw wrote on Twitter. “Critical thinking must win out over emotion. Large areas, outside and well-spaced, with masks on, is perfectly safe. Our fallen deserve to be remembered.”
Arlington National Cemetery’s public affairs officer confirmed that the event would be held. “The Secretary of the Army has directed Arlington National Cemetery to safely host Wreaths Across America,” the press office for the cemetery wrote. “We appreciate the families and visitors who take time to honor and remember those who are laid to rest at our nation’s most hallowed ground. Arlington National Cemetery will provide an update on the final schedule soon.”
You can find out more about Wreaths Across America by clicking here.
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