ARLINGTON, Va. (WDVM) — Arlington National Cemetery announced Monday the cancellation of its annual Wreaths Across America event, scheduled for Dec. 19 due to rising COVID-19 numbers, but that decision was overturned Tuesday after President Trump tweeted it will go on as planned.
Over 2,100 cemeteries, both stateside and abroad usually take part. Wreaths Across America aims to remember fallen U.S. veterans, honor those who serve, and teach children the value of freedom.
In a press release, the cemetery said that after talking with partners, it determined that hosting an event of its size under current and forecasted infection and transmission rates while still conducting a respectful and honorable public event would not be possible.
“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,” said Karen Durham-Aguilera, executive director, Office of Army National Cemeteries and Arlington National Cemetery.
“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,” she said.
On on Twitter, Sen. Tom Cotton urged officials to reconsider the decision Thursday morning.
The cemetery hopes to host the event again in 2021. Pass holders and visitors are still welcome to lay their own wreaths or flowers at the cemetery on Dec. 19.
You can find more information on Wreaths Across America here.