Wreaths Across America Honors Fallen Veterans

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posted on December 9, 2021
Wreaths Across America 2021 F

This December, Wreaths Across America will mark 30 years of its annual holiday tradition of placing wreaths on graves at Arlington National Cemetery. This year, based on positive feedback from the 2020 event, family pass holders will be given the opportunity to lay wreaths at the graves of their loved ones from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 12. Less than a week later, on Dec. 18, members of the general public will have an opportunity to take part in National Wreaths Across America Day and lay wreaths at the graves of service members.

Beginning in 1992, Morrill Worcester, owner of the Worcester Wreath Company in Harrington, Maine, took a surplus of wreaths and placed them in one of the older sections of Arlington National Cemetery that had seen fewer visitors. Several companies and organizations stepped up to help with the project, including Blue Bird Ranch Trucking, the Maine State Society and local American Legion and VFW posts. The tribute became an annual event, but the project received national attention in 2005 when pictures of the cemetery covered with wreaths and snow circulated online. Cemeteries across the country wanted to emulate the project, and Worcester was inundated with messages from thousands of people who wanted to help.

Wreaths Across America was formed in 2007 as a non-profit organization with the mission, "Remember. Honor. Teach." By 2014, more than 700,000 wreaths were laid at 1,000 locations across the United States. That year also marked the first successful completion of the group's goal to cover the entirety of Arlington National Cemetery with the placement of 226,525 wreaths. Among the organization's many sponsors and supporters are the employees of the National Rifle Association, who join Wreaths Across America to honor fallen service members. Last year, NRA aided in donating 10,000 wreaths for the cause, and the year before, Philip Schreier, senior curator at the NRA Museums, joined more than 38,000 other volunteers in placing wreaths at Arlington. Among the hundreds of thousands of veterans honored during the ceremony are Maj. Gen. Merritt Edson and Brig. Gen. Joseph Foss, two former presidents of the NRA and Medal of Honor recipients.

For those looking to donate or participate, there are many ways to support the mission. Wreaths Across America is always seeking sponsors and event volunteers, and the group is also seeking corporate and trucking support. To participate in laying wreaths at Arlington National Cemetery, registration is required due to the limited number of volunteers allowed to enter. Volunteers can register to enter at one of three location in the cemetery. The organization is also seeking volunteers for Wreaths Out, a Jan. 22, 2022, initiative to remove wreaths from headstones. No registration is required to attend Wreaths Out. To learn more about the mission and find ways to support the cause, visit wreathsacrossamerica.org.

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