Arlington National Cemetery canceled the annual Wreaths Across America this year due to COVID. The annual honoring places Christmas wreaths on the gravestones of those who have served in the U.S. armed forces.
This decision was not okay with America, thus America responded like America does.
Not a day later, Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy heard the voice of America and reversed Arlington’s decision:
“I have directed Arlington National Cemetery to safely host Wreaths Across America. 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.”
Here’s the original statement made by ANC:
“Due to the current COVID-19 situation across the nation and within the NCR, it is with great regret that ANC is cancelling Wreaths Across America at ANC and the Soldiers’ and Airmen’s Home Cemetery on Dec. 19, 2020.”
Karen Durham-Aguilera, executive director for the Office of Army National Cemeteries and Arlington National Cemetery, provided a statement:
“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,”
Wreaths Across America posted their dismay for the decision on their Facebook page:
“This afternoon, Wreaths Across America was made aware of the decision by Arlington National Cemetery to no longer allow the placement of veterans’ wreaths on National Wreaths Across America Day this year, which is scheduled across the country at more than 2,400 other participating cemeteries for Saturday, Dec. 19, 2020. As an organization, we are shocked by this unexpected turn of events.
To say we are devastated, would be an understatement. It has been a trying year for all, and we too, want all our volunteers, donors and their communities to remain safe! This is why over the last six months, the team at Wreaths has been working tirelessly with local, state and national officials to ensure that all of our outdoor wreath-placement events are done so safely, following local rules and mandates.
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. 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 elsewhere in the country, in their honor.”
Senator Tom Cotton, R–Ark., tweeted his dissent towards the decision:
“I encourage Army leaders to reconsider this decision. Thousands of people have marched in DC streets the past couple weekends for Joe Biden and Donald Trump. Surely volunteers can responsibly place wreaths on the graves of our fallen heroes at Arlington.”
Navy SEAL-gone Congressman Dan Crenshaw, R–Texas, was mad.
Three hours later, Crenshaw was happy.