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Arlington National Cemetery cancels wreath-donnnig due to COVID, then America’s dissent was heard by the Pentagon

Nathan Skates /


COVID-19-instilled fear reared its ugly head onto America’s most hallowed ground on Monday. But on Tuesday, America’s voice was heard and the Pentagon reversed the decision by Arlington National Cemetery to cancel the annual Christmas wreath placements on the honored gravestones.


“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.”



Arlington National Cemetery had made the decision to cancel its annual Wreaths Across America event, citing COVID-19 concerns:


“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.”



The cemetery wanted to hold the annual event, but officials were concerned about safety. Cemetery Executive Director Karen Durham- Aguilera said,


“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.”


She explained the large number of people at the event would have made safety precautions impossible saying,


“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.”


The Wreaths Across America organization tweeted out a statement in which they said, “As an organization, we are shocked by this unexpected turn of events. To say we are devastated, would be an understatement.” The statement continued,


“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. “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.”


Rep. Dan Crenshaw, R–Texas, called on Arlington National Cemetery to reverse their decision on Twitter.



Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., also tweeted out support for reversing the decision saying,


“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.”



Cotton makes a familiar point regarding the seemingly arbitrary nature of COVID-19 restrictions. Riots, protests, and political gatherings have brought into question the canceling of events and limiting occupancy.


Following Secretary McCarthy’s reversal, Dan Crenshaw expressed his appreciation.