November 19, 2022

Crowns Across America Post-Mortem: The Pictures Say It All

Despite its repeated insistence not to lay its Christmas wreaths on the graves of Jewish veterans, Wreaths Across America, in its annual coverage of our national cemeteries with Christmas wreaths, has once again placed its wreaths on countless Jews and other non-Christians. graves of veterans, thereby Christianizing the graves of these non-Christian veterans, much to the dismay of many family members of veterans.

In my last three posts, I’ve covered Wreaths Across America’s practice of placing its Christmas wreaths on the graves of non-Christian veterans, the so-called “non-profit” lucrative program of giving away its contracts of multi-million dollar crowns to its own for-profit crown business and the failing grade the organization received on its finances from Charity Navigator.

While Wreaths Across America’s incestuously lucrative relationship with its own for-profit Christmas wreath company is appalling and newsworthy, it is the organization’s desecration of the graves of Jewish and non-Christian veterans that is the primary concern of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF). This is why dozens of family members of these non-Christian veterans come to MRFF each year with their concerns about the practices of Wreaths Across America.

Wreaths Across America’s desecration of the graves of Jewish and non-Christian veterans is the primary concern of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation

This year, due to the MRFF’s outspokenness against Wreaths Across America, right-wing news and various Christian fundamentalist organizations fought back, defending the organization and portraying the MRFF as part of the mythical “War on Christmas.” Far-right members of Congress even intervened by writing a letter disparaging the MRFF to the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, signed by figures such as Lauren Boebert, Marjorie Taylor Greene and Madison Cawthorn.

But getting back to the main concern of MRFF and its clients, which is Wreaths Across America’s laying of its Christmas wreaths on the graves of Jewish and non-Christian veterans, here’s what the Executive Director of Wreaths Across America , Karen Worcester, and spokeswoman Amber Caron claimed. FoxNews:

Worcester told Fox News that Wreaths Across America has had a policy of not laying wreaths at graves marked with the Jewish Star of David since the group’s inception in 1992.

But she also said Wreaths Across America has “never been asked not to” lay wreaths for veterans of other non-Christian religions, such as Islam. She then added that they never “placed these wreaths unless the families requested.”

And at the Colorado Springs Gazette:

The program follows cemetery policies that allow for the annual remembrance ceremony, Caron said.

In cemeteries that don’t have a formal policy, volunteers “do not lay wreaths on headstones in graves marked with the Star of David, out of respect for Jewish custom,” the organization’s policy states.

And to IPU:

“It is our policy not to place wreaths on headstones bearing the Star of David,” Caron said. “Obviously mistakes happen. We are a network of volunteers. Not everyone knows what a Star of David is. We have protocols in place to work with our core volunteers to ensure that we check and that we are respectful.”

But, as in previous years, respectful they were not. Their Christmas wreaths have been placed indiscriminately on countless Jewish graves clearly marked with the Star of David, as well as on Muslim graves clearly marked as such with the crescent and star, and even on clearly marked Atheist graves. of the atheist symbol.

An MRFF volunteer took photos at the Air Force Academy cemetery, where he found wreaths placed not only on Jewish graves, but on an atheist grave.

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Two other MRFF volunteers visited Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery in San Antonio, Texas. With over 170,000 graves, only a very small part of this sprawling cemetery has been photographed. And yet, just in this small part, there were numerous Jewish graves and a Muslim grave stained with Christmas wreaths from Wreaths Across America.

If the word “defiled” sounds hyperbolic, consider that it goes against Jewish tradition to place flowers on a grave, and given the reasons Jews do not place flowers on graves, wreaths would be the same thing. Likewise, Muslims do not place flowers on graves. According to the eCondolence website, which provides religion-specific guidelines on visiting graves, for Muslims: “Flowers, wreaths or other mementos adorning the grave would be considered inappropriate.” And yet, as the following photos taken by MRFF volunteers show, Wreaths Across America has shown no respect for the traditions and beliefs of these religions, placing not only an inappropriate object on these graves, but a specifically Christian one.

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The above photos of MRFF volunteers are from a small portion of a single cemetery. Wreaths Across America has laid its wreaths at more than 2,500 locations – major national cemeteries as well as other cemeteries where veterans are buried.

As one of the MRFF volunteers wrote in the email that accompanied their photos:

“Make no mistake, the photos I sent you are just a small sample and it would take weeks to visit every non-Christian burial site. Yes, there were a few Jewish graves without crowns but this was the exception! Based on the number of sections of the cemetery, one can extrapolate that there are hundreds of non-Christian graves decorated with these Advent and Christmas decorations!! »

Multiply those hundreds in this cemetery alone by all the cemeteries covered by Wreaths Across America, and the number of Jewish and non-Christian veterans’ graves desecrated by this organization that speciously claims to respect other religions surely numbers into the thousands.

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The author of the email excerpt above was also very shocked and appalled that Wreaths Across America had placed their wreaths on the graves of German and Japanese POWs from World War II, writing:

“And to my dismay, I have witnessed with my own eyes what you say is true!” And you can trust your own eyes by looking at the many pictures I sent you! Christmas wreaths adorn not only Jewish graves, but also a Muslim grave and former graves of German and Japanese enemy POWs from World War II!!

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“I vividly remember studying the history of this period. As history teaches us, Nazi fanatics adopted both anti-Christian and anti-atheist policies while planning mass genocide of Jews and races they deemed inferior. And having visited and lived in Japan during my lifetime, I can say categorically that these Japanese POWs were most definitely either Shinto or Buddhist.

Yeah, nothing screams respect for our veterans – and especially our Jewish veterans – more than honoring nazis with a Christmas wreath, right?

Promotional image of Chris Rodda

And, to end with one more note on the Worcester family’s highly profitable plan to buy the millions of Christmas wreaths their “non-profit organization” Wreaths Across America uses each year ($17 million in 2019) from their own for-profit Christmas Wreath Company, on each of the wreaths she places on a veteran’s grave is a substantial sized paper tag advertising their for-profit wreath company. (The tag size can be seen very clearly in the second photo of the first set of photos in this post.)

chris rodda
Military Foundation for Religious Freedom