The annual Wreaths Across America at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia has been canceled this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The cemetery announced Monday that it “could not implement sufficient controls to mitigate the risks associated with hosting an event of this size … while still conducting a respectful and honorable public event.”
The event was scheduled for Dec. 19. The decision applies only to Arlington National Cemetery and Soldiers and Airmen’s Home National Cemetery.
“We reviewed various options to safely execute this long-standing event and held numerous consultations with WAA leadership and local government and public health officials, 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,” said Karen Durham-Aguillera, with the Office of Army National Cemeteries and Arlington National Cemetery.
Family pass holders and visitors may still visit the cemetery on their own and place graveside tributes. Find out what kind is acceptable on the cemetery’s floral tribute website.
“Our strong hope is to be able to resume hosting this great event next year in 2021,” Arlington National Cemetery Superintendent Charles “Ray” Alexander said.
Wreaths Across America, which started in 1992, honors those laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery. Volunteers lay a wreath on each veteran’s grave — more than a quarter-million wreaths altogether last year — and each veteran’s name is spoken aloud to honor them.
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