Maine Non-Profit to Continue Wreaths Across America

The charity, which puts thousands of wreaths on veteran's graves at Arlington National Cemetery and beyond, almost couldn't this year due to COVID-19

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The coronavirus pandemic almost stopped a 20-plus year holiday tradition at Arlington National Cemetery and beyond but a Maine-based charity is not letting that happen.

On Monday, Arlington National Cemetery announced that Wreaths Across America, which puts thousands of wreaths on veteran's graves there and at other cemeteries, could not hold its annual wreath-laying event this year because of COVID-19.

In an initial Facebook post about the cancellation, the non-profit Wreaths Across America said it was "shocked" by the news of the change.

But about a day later, there was a big shift in the cemetery's policy.

"The Secretary of the Army has directed Arlington National Cemetery to safely host Wreaths Across America," read Karen Worcester, the non-profit's executive director, in a video statement streamed live to Facebook.

Further on in a media briefing, Worcester explained she was hopeful the event going forward would be the final outcome all along and did not place blame on any party.

"There is no bad guy here, everybody was trying to do the best they could," Worcester said.

While there was public outcry, pressure from federal lawmakers to have Wreaths Across America go forward and a tweet from President Donald Trump in which he took credit for the reversal, the non-profit said it was unsure at what level the order to make the change was given at.

In terms of when and how the wreath-laying would play out, a Facebook post on the organization's website this week said, "more information will be forthcoming as it is available."

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