UPDATE: The Secretary of the Army has directed Arlington Cemetery to reverse this decision. Read more here.
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.— SecArmy (@SecArmy) November 17, 2020
Wreaths Across America, the non-profit that organizes annual wreath laying at Arlington National Cemetery and thousands of other locations every year, was shocked to learn the planned December 19th event has been canceled for 2020.
"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 2400 other participating cemeteries for Saturday, December 19, 2020," the organization said in a tweet late Monday. "As an organization, we are shocked by this unexpected turn of events. To say we are devastated, would be an understatement."
While public pressure mounts on Arlington Cemetery to reverse their decision, Wreaths Across America is working to adapt and complete their mission.
"It has been a trying year for all, ad 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 al our outdoor wreath placement events are done so safely, following local rules and mandates," the statement continues. "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."
Meanwhile, members of Congress are calling on Arlington Cemetery to allow the wreath laying to proceed.
Reverse your decision. https://t.co/KxWGShfdxX— Dan Crenshaw (@DanCrenshawTX) November 17, 2020