UPDATE: Wreaths Across America Will Visit Arlington
UPDATE: In a change to a previous decision, Wreaths Across America will be able to lay graves on soldiers' graves this year at Arlington National Cemetery.
The event will be held with COVID-19 protocols in place.
An earlier post on the organization's Facebook page had stated the national military cemetery had informed the Maine-based organization on Monday that they would not allow the placement of veterans' wreaths on this year's National Wreaths Across America Day. The event was scheduled for December 19th, when a caravan of vehicles would carry the wreaths to Washington D.C., as a way to honor the nation's military.
Changes had been made to this year's event, in an effort to make it as safe as possible. Sean Sullivan of Wreaths Across America told us recently that volunteers had to pre-register for the event, rather than just allowing people to show up. They were assigning designated times to control the amount of volunteers in the cemetery, and giving each person a grid in which they had to work. Masks and social distancing were requirements for taking part.
Still, the staff at Arlington felt it wasn't enough. A post on the national organization's Facebook page says the decision to cancel the Wreaths Across America visit was made with 'great regret.' They decided they simply could not put enough controls in place to make it a safe environment for everyone involved. Karen Durham-Aguilera, Executive Director of the Office of Army National Cemeteries and Arlington National Cemetery said in the post:
"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."