Tens of thousands of volunteers will again head to Arlington National Cemetery later this month to honor veterans’ graves with wreaths this holiday season.
The annual Wreaths Across America ceremony will take place on Saturday, December 16, as part of a nationwide effort by the nonprofit to lay wreaths at veterans’ gravesides.
Organizers hope to lay a wreath at all 245,115 veterans’ graves at Arlington National Cemetery. And according to its website, more than 29,000 volunteers have already committed to laying more than 196,000.
Anyone who wishes to volunteer can sign up online, and anyone wishing to donate to sponsor a remembrance wreath can do so, to honor a veteran, alive or dead, or to have a wreath placed at a specific marker.
The opening ceremony for the day of wreath-laying begins at 8:15 a.m. From the event website:
For those wanting to observe the arrival of the Wreath Truck Convoy, which will arrive at approximately 7:45 a.m. on Saturday, ANC will begin their screening process at 7 a.m. at the ANC Welcome Center. Those screened early will be directed to holding areas near the Opening Ceremony location which will be held in front of the Women In Military Service for America Memorial at the end of Memorial Drive starting at 8:15 a.m. All gates into Arlington Cemetery grounds will be opened to the general public at 8:30 a.m. after all Wreaths Convoy Trucks have been staged. Wreath placement will begin at 9:15 a.m.
If you are interested in attending, there will be special wreath layings conducted at the Columbarium at 10 a.m.; at the President William F. Taft Monument in Section 30 at 10:30 a.m.; at the President John F. Kennedy Memorial in Section 45 at 11 a.m.; at the USS Battleship Maine Monument in Section 24 at 11:30 a.m.; and a formal Wreath Ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns at 12 p.m. (noon).
The cemetery’s welcome center garage will open at 7 a.m. that day, but only those with an authorized ANC Family Pass and vehicles with valid Handicap Permits will be allowed to park there. Metrorail will open at 7 a.m. that morning, and organizers are encouraging attendees to take the train to the Arlington National Cemetery Metro station instead of driving.
Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman