U.S. officials confirmed Tuesday an annual event honoring fallen American soldiers will take place in December, despite having canceled the event 24 hours prior.
Organizers of Wreaths Across America - an event in which tens of thousands of volunteers lay wreaths on the graves of fallen soldiers – announced Monday that they were canceling the event due to the coronavirus pandemic.
But U.S. Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy on Tuesday instructed Arlington National Cemetery to prepare to host the event safely.
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
Arlington National Cemetery posted a version of McCarthy’s statement on its website Tuesday.
President Donald Trump later tweeted that he had “reversed the ridiculous decision” to cancel the event.
I have reversed the ridiculous decision to cancel Wreaths Across America at Arlington National Cemetery. It will now go on!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 17, 2020
Karen Worcester, executive director of Wreaths Across America, said in a statement Tuesday that her organization had been coordinating with Arlington National Cemetery for months to plan a safe way to hold the event.
“I am pleased to report that today, we were able to have these discussions with the Cemetery’s leadership team, and they have informed us of their willingness to work with us to develop other options to allow for the safe placement of veterans’ wreaths this December,” Worcester wrote.
The event, scheduled for December 19, will take place not just at Arlington National Cemetery, but at over 2,000 locations nationwide and overseas.