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‘Ridiculous Decision’: Canceled Arlington Wreath-Laying Ceremony Reinstated After Trump Steps In
Arlington National Cemetery
Michael Lee via Getty Images

Arlington National Cemetery and Wreaths Across America intend to go forward with their annual wreath-laying ceremony after President Donald Trump ordered the reversal of what he called “the ridiculous decision” to cancel it.

“I have reversed the ridiculous decision to cancel Wreaths Across America at Arlington National Cemetery. It will now go on!” Trump tweeted Tuesday, a day after the cemetery announced that it was cancelling the ceremony because of COVID-19.

Shortly before the president’s tweet, Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy wrote, “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.”

On Monday, the cemetery’s official Twitter account tweeted, “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 Dec. 19, 2020.”

A press release from the cemetery further explained the situation, stating in part:

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.

Karen Durham-Aguilera, the cemetery’s executive director, maintained: “We did not make this decision lightly.”

The decision was met with backlash from Wreaths Across America, which said they “are devastated.” The non-profit, which lays wreaths on veteran graves all over the country around the holidays, continued, “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.”

Lawmakers also denounced the decision, such as Army veteran Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR), who pointed out the double standard of allowing huge marches in Washington, D.C., while cancelling wreath-laying. “I encourage Army leaders to reconsider this decision,” he tweeted. “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.”

Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX), who is a Navy veteran, expressed similar sentiments, tweeting, “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.”

Following the decision’s reversal, Wreaths Across America executive director Karen Worcester released a statement that said in part, “I am pleased to report that today, we were able to have these discussions with the Cemetery’s leadership team, and they have informed us of their willingness to work with us to develop other options to allow for the safe placement of veterans’ wreaths this December.”

Related: Trump Makes Surprise Visit To Arlington National Cemetery To Honor Fallen Soldiers

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  ‘Ridiculous Decision’: Canceled Arlington Wreath-Laying Ceremony Reinstated After Trump Steps In