More than 25,000 volunteers and 1,000 local fundraising groups in all 50 states participated in this year’s Wreaths Across America holiday event. They placed wreaths at Veteran gravesites at nearly 900 locations within the U.S. and overseas.
For most, the picturesque wreath-laden graves may be the most obvious takeaway. For me, it was the volunteers placing the wreaths.
This past Dec. 14, before starting to lay the wreaths, Morrill Worcester, the founder of Wreaths Across America, addressed thousands of volunteers gathered at Arlington National Cemetery.
“When we brought 5,000 wreaths in 1992, people said, ‘That’s nice.’ When we brought many more in the year 2000, they said, ‘That’s really nice,’” Worcester recounted.
Now on the 22nd consecutive trip to lay the wreaths, Worcester noted that people are starting to “get it.” In fact, this year marked a new record as Wreaths Across America coordinated the laying of more than 142,000 wreaths.
Some of the volunteers were Veterans themselves, showing respect for and sharing the experience with other Veterans. Others were there to place wreaths on a loved one’s grave. Families brought their children to teach them about the sacrifices made by those who serve our country in uniform. What was evident was that volunteers fulfilled the event’s mission: “Remember, Honor, Teach.”
You can also view a gallery of photos from events at a number of VA National Cemeteries on our Flickr page as well as a summary of the day’s events via Storify (embedded below).