The Secretary appears to have gotten the order from President Donald Trump, who criticized its cancellation on Twitter on Tuesday.
Arlington National Cemetery announced the cancellation of the annual event to honor fallen U.S. servicemen and women on Monday.
“We did not make this decision lightly,” stated Karen Durham-Aguilera, executive director of the Office of Army National Cemeteries and Arlington 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. 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.”
“Each December on National Wreaths Across America Day, our mission to Remember, Honor and Teach is carried out by coordinating wreath-laying ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery, as well as at more than 2,100 additional locations in all 50 U.S. states, at sea and abroad.”
The laying of wreaths across America was started in 1992 by the owners of Worcester Wreath company who that year found themselves with extra wreaths at the end of the Christmas season and with the help of a Maine senator at that time made arrangements to place wreaths in one of the less-visited sections of the Arlington National Cemetery.
The tradition went on quietly for years but got national attention in 2005 and after some changes and various groups collaborating, Wreaths Across America was founded in 2007.