ARLINGTON, Va. (AP) — The holiday tradition of laying wreaths on graves at the Arlington National Cemetery will continue this year, despite the pandemic.
Wreaths Across America was told Monday that the tradition was being put on hiatus, but Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy announced Tuesday that he directed the cemetery to allow the wreaths.
“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,” McCarthy tweeted. A final schedule will be released soon, he said.
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.
— SecArmy (@SecArmy) November 17, 2020
Two hours later, President Donald Trump took credit for reversing “the ridiculous decision” in his own tweet. “It will now go on!” he said.
Karen Worcester, of Wreaths Across America, said cemetery officials are willing to work with her organization on a plan place wreaths while remaining safe and preventing the spread of the coronavirus.
The tradition dates to 1992 when Maine wreath maker Morrill Worcester’s Worcester Wreath Company donated 5,000 wreaths to Arlington Cemetery.
It has grown since then. Last year, about 2 million wreaths were placed at 2,000 locations, including Arlington National Cemetery.
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