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Secular group targets decades-long tradition of wreath laying at soldiers’ graves

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Secular nonprofit organization that strongly advocates separation of church and state in America challenges Crowns across AmericaThe almost 30-year tradition of laying wreaths on thousands of military graves.

The Military Foundation for Religious Freedom (MRFF) calls Wreaths Across America, telling the Colorado Springs Gazette that the organization’s actions in placing wreaths on military graves across the country are “unconstitutional, an atrocity and a disgrace”.

Wreaths were laid at the foot of headstones in Section 60 of Arlington National Cemetery on December 14, 2013 in Arlington, Virginia.
(Photo by Drew Angerer / Getty Images)

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“We have no problem if people reach out and want a wreath over the graves of their deceased veterans, but putting them everywhere, covering them up without the permission of the surviving families is unconstitutional, an atrocity and a disgrace,” he said. said MRFF founder Mikey Weinstein. , according to the Gazette.

MRFF Senior Research Director Chris Rodda described wreath laying tradition as “desecrating the graves of non-Christian veterans” in November opinion piece.

“The graves of Christians and non-Christians alike will be adorned with this symbol of Christianity deviated from paganism – circular and made of evergreen leaves to symbolize eternal life through Jesus Christ – whether the families of deceased veterans like it or not. Rodda wrote.

Wreaths were covered in snow next to markers at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va. On Jan.6, 2015, after a small winter storm.

Wreaths were covered in snow next to markers at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va. On Jan.6, 2015, after a small winter storm.
(Photo by Jim Watson / AFP via Getty Images)

Rodda also claimed that Wreaths Across America “calls on volunteers from across the country to lay a wreath at the grave of every veteran, forcing the non-Christian dead who have not celebrated Christmas in life to celebrate it in death. “.

Weinstein, who is Jewish, concluded in his conversation with the Gazette that the wreath laying process should “be an aspect of respect”, adding that it is “almost like a sign of fundamentalist Christian gang to put a symbol of the Christian Christmas season on any grave. “

Every year in December since 1992, Wreaths Across America has pledged to lay wreaths at the Arlington National Ceremony to honor and commemorate deceased veterans – an effort that expanded into 2007.

A wreath stands at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial as part of Wreaths Across America, Friday, December 18, 2020, in Washington.  (AP Photo / Manuel Balce Ceneta)

A wreath stands at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial as part of Wreaths Across America, Friday, December 18, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo / Manuel Balce Ceneta)
(PA)

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Last year, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the wreath laying event went digital in some locations due to health and safety concerns.

According to the Wreaths Across America website, this year’s celebration is scheduled to take place on December 18 and will include “wreath laying ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery, as well as at over 2,500 additional sites in all 50 US states. , at sea and abroad. “

Fox News contacted Wreaths Across America, but did not receive an immediate response.