Saturday, Dec. 18, is now officially Wreaths Across America Day thanks to the passage of a Senate resolution introduced by Maine Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King. It’s the first national recognition of a movement that has been active for three decades, placing wreaths on the graves of veterans nationwide during the holiday season.
“We have Veterans Day in the fall and Memorial Day in the spring, but our service members sacrifice their time and safety every single day of the year to preserve our freedoms,” Wreaths Across America (WAA) says. “In many homes, there is an empty seat for one who is serving or one who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. There is no better time to express our appreciation than during the hustle and bustle of the holiday season.”
Wreaths Across America began 30 years ago when Maine wreathmaker Morrill Worcester delivered 5,000 wreaths to Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia as a gesture of thanks to those who made the ultimate sacrifice in protecting their country. This year, a convoy of Gold Star families, veterans and well-wishers will transport 12 truckloads of wreaths to the national cemetery, making stops at multiple events along the way.
“For those who have had the opportunity to participate in the escort of wreaths over the years, it is truly an experience of a lifetime,” says Karen Worcester, WAA’s executive director. “This year, we’re hoping that supporters will once again join us in lining the roadways safely and welcome the mission into their communities.”
If you can’t make it to Arlington or a location along the convoy route, consider joining one of the more than 3,100 Wreaths Across America events to be held across the country on Dec. 18. Vietnam Veterans of America chapters help stage many local WAA functions each year as part of their civic fundraising efforts.
“Wreaths Across America is a powerful demonstration of respect and appreciation for our veterans — both those that we’ve lost and those still with us,” Sens. Collins and King said in a joint statement. “We are so proud that this heartfelt expression of gratitude originated in our great state and has become an enduring symbol of our nation’s gratitude for veterans’ valor and sacrifice.”
Visit Wreaths Across America to find out more, sponsor a wreath or get involved at the local level. Visit VVA on the web to find out about nearby chapter initiatives and #donate. And consider #donating to ClothingDonations.org this holiday season. The nation’s #veterans and veteran families appreciate the recognition and support. Happy Holidays!