Citing concerns over the coronavirus pandemic, it was announced Monday that Arlington National Cemetery would not be participating in the annual Wreaths Across America event that places special wreaths at the resting place of our nation’s fallen military heroes.
The decision sparked an immediate outcry that prompted President Donald Trump to intervene and overrule the decision so that the cherished event could still be held, Breitbart reported.
Cancellation sparks outcry
Arlington National Cemetery’s official Twitter account announced the cancellation on Monday.
“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,” the post read.
News of the cancellation did not go over well with the Wreaths Across America organization, as revealed by a post to its official Facebook page that expressed how the group was “shocked by this unexpected turn of events. To say we are devastated, would be an understatement.”
The organization acknowledged that this was a “trying time” for all, given the pandemic, but pointed out how the group had spent “the last six months” working closely with “local, state, and national officials” to find a way to safely conduct the annual outdoor wreath-laying events at more than 2,400 cemeteries nationwide on Dec. 19.
“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,” the organization wrote.
Reversed and overruled
Concerns over the sudden cancellation by Arlington Cemetery did not go unnoticed. President Trump weighed in Tuesday to make it clear that the event would indeed go on as originally planned.
“I have reversed the ridiculous decision to cancel Wreaths Across America at Arlington National Cemetery. It will now go on!” Trump tweeted on Tuesday.
About an hour and a half prior to that message from the president, U.S. Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy had similarly declared that the decision to cancel the event had been overruled and the wreath-laying ceremony would take place.
“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,” the secretary wrote.
Concerns about the coronavirus are certainly understandable. That said, given that the wreath-laying occurs outdoors, and all participants can easily wear masks and remain socially distanced, there was no reason to cancel the event outright. President Trump was absolutely right to reverse the decision and save a special tradition to honor our nation’s heroes.