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As Volunteers Adorn Veterans' Graves with Wreaths, Protest Group Tries to End the 'Atrocity'

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Is nothing sacred to the vociferous, disgruntled few?

Wreaths Across America volunteers have been placing wreaths on the graves of fallen American troops since the 1990s. They do this to honor those men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice to keep the promise of freedom alive.

Today, however, it is common for the vociferous, disgruntled few to be offended even by simple gestures of respect for human dignity.

Mikey Weinstein, who founded the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, a nonprofit civil rights advocacy group, is one of those few.

Weinstein is protesting the group’s practice of putting wreaths on military graves, according to The Gazette in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

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“We have no problem if people reach out and want a wreath on their deceased veterans’ graves, but to put them everywhere, to blanket them without permission of the surviving families is unconstitutional, an atrocity and a disgrace,” he said.

Weinstein, who is Jewish, claims the wreaths for our fallen heroes are Christian symbols.

Amber Caron, spokeswoman for the Maine-headquartered Wreaths Across America, begs to differ. She said they are veterans wreaths, not Christmas wreaths, according to the Gazette.

Caron also said, “We are not ‘decorating graves’ but honoring American heroes.”

Karen Worcester, executive director of Wreaths Across America, told Fox News that the group does not and has not placed wreaths on graves that bear the Jewish Star of David.

Nevertheless, in 2014, Weinstein’s organization requested that Wreaths Across America refrain from putting wreaths on the graves of departed service members displaying the Star of David.

Then, in 2017, a photo showing a Wreaths Across America wreath on a headstone with a Star of David went into circulation.

Caron had an answer for that, however: Some Jewish families request the wreaths, she said, and volunteers sometimes inadvertently place them on a grave with the Jewish star. There is nothing malicious in that.

She also made it clear that Wreaths Across America “is not affiliated with any religion or political view.” That is the organization’s official policy, Caron said.

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Weinstein apparently disagrees. “It’s almost like a fundamentalist Christian gang sign to put a symbol of the Christian season of Christmas on any grave,” he said, according to the Gazette.

“Christian gang sign”? Really?

This should not be a controversial topic. The troops who are being honored with wreaths sacrificed their lives so Weinstein and his ilk could have their say. You know, the First Amendment and all that constitutional stuff. It’s more than a little ironic that Weinstein is claiming that the wreaths are “unconstitutional” and a “disgrace.”

Do you think the wreath-laying tradition should continue?

Indeed, Weinstein has the constitutional right to protest the wreaths. However, whether he likes it or not, the United States is founded upon a Judeo-Christian ethic that declares those rights to have come from God.

The Declaration of Independence is clear: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Hooray for the First Amendment! People have a sacred right to express themselves, even when it makes them look idiotic. It is easy to spot fools in the public square.

We owe a great deal to those who gave their lives for our sacred freedoms. Surely even Weinstein would admit that freedom is sacred.

The wreaths are a sign of respect.

I wish the vociferous disgruntled few would discover the dignity of silence.

Silence can be sacred.

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Jack Gist is an award-winning writer who has published essays, poetry and fiction in Catholic World Report, First Things, The Imaginative Conservative, New Oxford Review and others.
Jack Gist is an award-winning writer who has published essays, poetry and fiction in Catholic World Report, First Things, The Imaginative Conservative, New Oxford Review and others.