Army Sec., Trump Announce Un-Cancellation Of Arlington Wreaths Event

By Jason Hall

November 17, 2020

UPDATE:

The Wreaths Across America event at Arlington National Cemetery will reportedly take place this year, despite the cemetery announcing its cancellation on Monday.

Army secretary Ryan McCarthy announced he directed the Arlington National Cemetery to safely host Wreaths Across America in a tweet shared Tuesday afternoon.

"I have directed Arlington National Cemetery to safely host Wreaths Across America," McCarthy 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."

President Donald Trump also announced the un-cancellation of the event, claiming he had reversed the decision to cancel the Wreaths Across America event at Arlington National Cemetery on Tuesday.

"I have reversed the ridiculous decision to cancel Wreaths Across America at Arlington National Cemetery," Trump tweeted. "It will now go on!"

Wreaths Across America said it was "shocked" and "devastated" by the cancellation in a statement shared on its Twitter account Monday. The annual event began when Maine wreath maker Morrill Worcester donated 5,000 wreaths to Arlington Cemetery and has since grown to more than a quarter million wreaths donated in recent years, CBS Boston reports.

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The Maine-based Wreaths Across America will not be able to continue its annual tradition of placing wreaths on the headstones of veterans at Arlington National Cemetery this year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Arlington National Cemetery announced the cancellation of the event amid concerns over the rising COVID-19 cases nationwide on its official website Monday.

“We did not make this decision lightly. Despite the controls developed to disperse potential crowds in time and space, and required personal safety protocols, we determined that hosting any event of this scale risked compromising our ability to accomplish our core mission of laying veterans and their eligible family members to rest,” said Arlington National Cemetery Executive director Karen Durham-Aguilera in a statement. “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.”

Wreaths Across America said it was "shocked" and "devastated" by the cancellation in a statement shared on its Twitter account Monday.

“As an organization, we are shocked by this unexpected turn of events. To say we are devastated, would be an understatement,” Wreaths Across America wrote in the statement.

The annual event began when Maine wreath maker Morrill Worcester donated 5,000 wreaths to Arlington Cemetery and has since grown to more than a quarter million wreaths donated in recent years, CBS Boston reports.

Wreaths Across America said it had worked to meet COVID-19 protocols in preparation for outdoor wreath-laying events nationwide prior to the cancellation of the Arlington event.

“Like our U.S. Military, we will adjust and adapt, and work together towards fulfilling the mission which is to Remember, Honor and Teach. Our Gold Star Families have lost too much for us to just give up,” Wreaths Across America said in a statement. “Please stay tuned for more details about how you too can recommit to the mission and join us in remembering all those laid to rest at Arlington and elsewhere in the country, in their honor.”

Arlington said families and visitors are still allowed to visit and place flowers or wreaths on graves at their own discretion.

Photo: Getty Images

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