Yesterday Arlington National Cemetery announced the cancelation of Wreaths Across America, an annual and volunteer based tradition, due to the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic.
"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 states. "Following a thorough analysis of the annual Wreaths Across America Wreaths-In event this year, and in close collaboration with the Joint Task Force, National Capital Region, 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."
Those in charge of the decision said it was not made lightly.
“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,” Executive Director, Office of Army National Cemeteries and Arlington National Cemetery Karen Durham-Aguilera said. “We reviewed various options to safely execute this long standing event and held numerous consultations with WAA leadership and local government and public health officials. 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.”
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.— Arlington National Cemetery (@ArlingtonNatl) November 16, 2020
Please read the full press release at: https://t.co/b6EEqpsmRh
Former Navy SEAL and Congressman Dan Crenshaw is calling for the decision to be reversed.
This decision to cancel #wreathsacrossamerica must be reversed immediately. 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.— Dan Crenshaw (@DanCrenshawTX) November 17, 2020
RT if you agree and support #RememberHonorTeach https://t.co/ddWVp5vs2g
Gold Star Mother Karen Vaughn, whose son Aaron Vaughn is buried in Arlington, is calling the move absurd. Vaughn was killed nearly ten years ago in Afghanistan after his Chinook helicopter was shot down. Other families are also weighing in.
WOW! This is ABSURD. How dare you. Signed, the mom of a man BURIED there! https://t.co/Vk3ThF73JQ— Karen Vaughn (@KarenVaughn_GSM) November 16, 2020
My brother is in Section 60. He was killed in Afghanistan just before Christmas. He sacrificed his life for this country. This is the one event that has brought comfort to our family- and so many others. Unacceptable. People live too much in fear.— Renee Nickell???? (@RMNickell) November 17, 2020
Disgusting. Because wearing masks and keeping social distancing is that hard? What about when our fallen had to storm the beaches in Normandy, or walk through the flooded rainforests of Vietnam? Being blown up by an IED in Iraq? And we can’t even honor them for that.— Mitchell Zabel (@mitchzabel) November 17, 2020