Do you place wreaths Jewish headstones?

Modified on Fri, 22 Mar at 3:15 PM

Wreaths Across America now has more than 4,200 participating locations and each is informed that our policy is to follow the direction of the Cemetery Administration, as we are guests on the grounds. We also share the policy and practice at Arlington National Cemetery, where volunteers are asked to stop, pay their respects in appreciation, and but not place a wreath on the stones bearing the Star of David. The only exception is when families of the deceased request a wreath be placed or place one themselves, in which case their wishes are honored.

In recent years, we have met with many different members of the Jewish community (and other faith leaders as well) such as the Jewish War Veterans. The wreath with a blue and gold ribbon or other symbol was deemed to not be the right solution. Leaving small stones is also not an option because of the hazard they create when mowing the grass of the grounds. However, we all agree the importance of honoring our different faiths as a freedom for which our veterans serve and sacrifice.

We appreciate feedback, and please know that our goal is to honor all veterans, in the most appropriate ways. So we have been reaching out to understand additional voices and perspectives. WAA is all-inclusive, non-partisan, and non-denominational in our mission to Remember, Honor, and Teach about the service and sacrifice of our veterans and their families.

This is the official Wreaths Across America policy on the topic:

Wreaths Across America is not affiliated with any religion or political view. Our mission is to Remember all the fallen, Honor their families and Teach our children about the cost of freedom. Because we are a guest at the more than 4,200 participating cemeteries we visit each year, and we abide by each cemetery’s rules when it comes to the placement of wreaths on veterans’ headstones. At those cemeteries without a formal policy, we do not place a wreath on the headstones of those graves marked with the Star of David, out of respect for Jewish custom. We simply pause and pay our respects. The only exception is when families of the deceased request a wreath, and then their wishes are honored.

Our goal as an organization is to use this dialogue as an opportunity to share and Teach younger generations about the diversity of our American heritage, and the freedoms for which so much was sacrificed.

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