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Annual Wreaths Across America event at Arlington National Cemetery back on after backlash over cancellation

The Army on Tuesday announced that it had instructed the Arlington National Cemetery to host the Wreaths Across America Day event honoring fallen veterans after an announcement Monday evening resulted in backlash over the event’s cancellation due to safety concerns amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

“The Secretary of the Army has directed Arlington National Cemetery to safely host Wreaths Across America,” the Army said in a statement Tuesday afternoon. “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 Army added that the cemetery would be issuing “an update on the final schedule soon.” 

President Trump claimed in a tweet shortly after the Army’s statement that he was the one who “reversed the ridiculous decision” to cancel the event. 

“It will now go on!” he added.

Wreaths Across America first announced Monday evening the cancellation of the event, in which volunteers lay wreaths at the tombstones of veterans. The organization wrote in a statement shared on Twitter that it was “shocked by this unexpected turn of events.” 

“It has been a trying year for all, and we too, want all our volunteers, donors and their communities to remain safe,” the statement added. “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.” 

Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas), a former Navy SEAL officer, responded to the announcement Monday by tweeting that the cancellation “must be reversed immediately.”

“Critical thinking must win out over emotion,” he added. “Large areas, outside and well spaced, with masks on, is perfectly safe. Our fallen deserve to be remembered.” 

On Tuesday, Crenshaw wrote “reverse your decision” in response to a tweet from Arlington National Cemetery announcing the cancellation of the Dec. 19 event there, as well as at the Soldiers’ and Airmen’s Home National Cemetery. 

Republican Sen. Tom Cotton (Ark.) had also criticized the cancellation, tweeting Tuesday morning, “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,” Cotton added. “Surely volunteers can responsibly place wreaths on the graves of our fallen heroes at Arlington.”

Tags Arlington Arlington National Cemetery Army coronavirus covid-19 Dan Crenshaw Donald Trump Joe Biden Navy Tom Cotton Twitter Wreaths across America

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