Before the holidays, you might see volunteers out adorning the graves of veterans with seasonal wreaths, most notably at Arlington National Cemetery. This isn’t just decorating for the sake of being festive, this is called Wreaths Across America and it’s a nationwide effort of coordinated wreath-laying ceremonies in all 50 U.S. states, at sea and abroad. The best part? Anyone can get involved.
The Story Behind Wreaths Across America
Wreaths Across America began in 1992 when Morrill Worcester, the owner of Worcester Wreath, found himself with a surplus of wreaths toward the end of the holiday season. He remembered a very impressionable experience as a young boy when visiting Arlington Cemetery and knew that he had a lot to be thankful for because of the brave souls who made the ultimate sacrifice. That year, he was able to lay those extra wreaths in a small section of Arlington Cemetery.
The annual tribute went on quietly until 2005 when a photo of the wreaths at Arlington got national attention. Since then the mission has spread across the country and around the world.
When it Takes Place: December 15th
The official Wreaths Across America Day is December 15th. Anyone can participate in a variety of different ways, through sponsoring a veterans’ wreath, volunteering to lay wreaths, or donating to a local wreath fundraising group.
Want to participate on December 15th at Arlington National Cemetery? Here are all the details.
Why a Wreath?
Each wreath honors the memory of an American hero. The Wreaths Across America group believes there is no better time to express our appreciation as a country for the sacrifices veterans made, than during the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, hence the holiday wreath. It is a wonderful way to show veterans and their families that we will never forget their sacrifices and we will continue to remember those who are gone.
Their mission statement is extremely powerful too, “REMEMBER the Fallen. . . HONOR those who Serve. . . TEACH our children the value of Freedom.”