Volunteers to Place Wreaths on Veterans’ Graves

by Katie Pyzyk December 11, 2012 at 2:55 pm 4,423 6 Comments

Tens of thousands of volunteers will make their way to Arlington National Cemetery on Saturday (December 15) to ensure that veterans’ graves are honored with wreaths for the holidays.

Members of the non-profit group Wreaths Across America coordinated efforts not just here, but at cemeteries across the country. The organization’s website states: “Fresh evergreens are a symbol used for centuries to recognize honor, and a living tribute renewed annually. To use plastic wreaths that are put in storage each year is exactly the kind of tradition we want to avoid – it makes for great photos but misses the point… We want people to see the tradition as a living memorial to veterans and their families, whom we remember amid the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. We believe that the sacrifices they made are more than worth the effort.”

The wreaths are currently on a solemn week-long journey from Maine to Arlington in what is sometimes referred to as “the world’s largest veterans’ parade.” The convoy stops at schools, monuments and veterans’ homes along the way as a reminder of the importance of remembering, honoring and teaching. Other trucks will head to participating cemeteries in all 50 states.

Donations can be made online through Thursday (December 13) for sponsoring wreaths to be laid on Saturday. A representative for the organization said “anyone and everyone is welcome” to show up on Saturday to assist with placing the wreaths. The convoy should arrive around 8:30 a.m. and volunteers are asked to arrive prior to the 9:30 a.m. opening ceremony and briefing. More information, a map and a schedule can be found online.

Last year, more than 15,000 volunteers spent nearly two hours placing around 90,000 wreaths. This year’s total of wreaths and volunteers is expected to exceed last year’s. The organization hopes to reach the 100,000 mark with wreaths this year.

  • Clayton Dean

    Will be at AC.

  • Kathy

    We have organized a group of co-workers, family members and friends to participate in this event. Folks who have participated in the past tell me it’s a very powerful experience.

  • outoftowner

    “Last year, more than 15,000 volunteers spent nearly two hours placing around 90,000 wreaths”

    So it took an average of 3 wreaths per hour per person? Obviously all of the volunteers weren’t placing wreaths, but what were so many of them doing?

    • CrystalMikey

      Probably helping to get all those wreaths off the trucks and into willing hands, for one.

  • Rory

    My grandfather rests there, and my father soon will be there too, one day. It is an absolutely moving and majestic place.

    That being said, I feel all those volunteer hours could possibly be put to better use. There are many old and lonely people in nursing homes (many who are veterans) who haven’t had a visitor all year and who really get joy out of having someone (anyone) come see them. That is just one example.

    I’m probably going to be attacked, and that’s fine. It’s just a thought I’ve had before as there seems to be armies of volunteers willing to do things at Arlington Cemetery at all times of the year while real, live human beings are suffering in the very same county.

    People can do whatever they want with their time, just wanted to throw that out there.

  • arlvapete

    I’ll walk over to help. Looks like we meet at the Amphitheater at 9:30.


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