Wreaths Across America told it will not be able to place wreaths at Arlington National Cemetery this year
The usual display of wreaths will be noticeably absent from Arlington National Cemetery this December.
The cemetery notified Wreaths Across America that its annual tradition of placing wreaths on veterans’ graves will not be allowed this year due to the pandemic.
The organization is a nonprofit group that places wreaths annually on the second or third Saturday of December at cemeteries across the nation. This year, the event is scheduled to take place on December 19 at more than 2,400 participating cemeteries.
“As an organization, we are shocked by this unexpected turn of events,” the group said in a statement.
“To say we are devastated, would be an understatement. It has been a trying year for all, and we too, want all our volunteers, donors and their communities to remain safe!”
In the last two weeks, Virginia has averaged over 1,000 new daily Covid-19 cases. It is one of 29 states to recently record its highest seven-day average for new cases, and the state also recorded its highest single-day number for new cases on Monday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
“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,” Karen Durham-Aguilera, the executive director of the Office of Army National Cemeteries and Arlington National Cemetery, said in a statement.
“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.”
Arlington National Cemetery said in a statement that it hopes to continue the annual wreath-laying ceremony in 2021.
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