After National Outrage, Army Does an About-Face and Allows People to Lay Wreaths at Arlington

The U.S. Army has reversed course and will allow the yearly tradition called “Wreaths Across America” to go forward at the Arlington National Cemetery this year. The outdoor event had been canceled due to COVID fears.

The Wreaths Across America group “coordinates wreath­-laying ceremonies at more than 2,100 locations across the United States, at sea and abroad.”

It partners with Scouts, Explorers, and civic and religious groups to lay wreaths donated or sponsored by individuals and companies at the nation’s national cemeteries. Trucking companies donate their services, moving hundreds of thousands of wreaths around the country.

Thousands of people deploy to the cemeteries and other points of honor to lay wreaths in honor of those who served.

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But canceling the wreath-laying in the nation’s capital? Unthinkable.

The cancelation of the event drew outrage by people who didn’t understand why an outdoor event couldn’t be handled safely.

Senator Tom Cotton, who served in The Old Guard at Arlington, was especially galled by the cancelation of the December 19 wreath-laying.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.

The organization was “shocked” and “devastated” by the cancelation.

Veteran and Congressman Dan Crenshaw said, “Large areas, outside and well spaced, with masks on, is perfectly safe. Our fallen deserve to be remembered.” Indeed.

The U.S. Army announced Monday that Arlington officials had given the safety issues consideration and would cancel the event, but after near-universal outrage over that decision, Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy reversed the order on Tuesday.

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.

Oh, “safely,” well that changes everything. No one had ever thought of that!

The U.S. Army runs two national cemeteries in the D.C. area. The Department of Veterans Affairs operates more than 150 cemeteries.

If politicians can go to Maui and The French Laundry while simultaneously lecturing their constituents on not traveling for Thanksgiving and Christmas, then surely the little people can stay masked up in the cold of December to lay a wreath on the grave of someone who served or made the ultimate sacrifice.

Dismissed.

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