(Updated at 10:50 a.m.) Thousands of volunteers will gather at Arlington National Cemetery later this month to honor veterans by laying wreaths at their graves.
The annual Wreaths Across America event will be held this year on Saturday, December 14, beginning with an opening ceremony at 8:30 a.m.
Volunteers are still being sought to help lay the wreaths, while the group that organizes the annual event is also seeking sponsors to help pay for the wreaths. As of today (Monday), more than 70,000 wreaths have been sponsored — just over a quarter of the 253,000 graves across the cemetery.
Similar to years past, cemetery officials are strongly recommending attendees use public transit to get to the wreath laying event. Because so many volunteers are expected, officials suggest using the nearby Rosslyn and Pentagon Metro stops instead of the cemetery station.
“The annual tradition provides another opportunity for visitors to honor the service and sacrifice of our service members, veterans and their families laid to rest within our hallowed grounds,” the cemetery said via social media.
More from an ANC press release:
The annual Wreaths Across America event will be held at Arlington National Cemetery (ANC) and the Soldiers’ and Airmen’s Home National Cemetery on Saturday, Dec. 14. The gates to these cemeteries will open at 8 a.m.
Volunteers should anticipate large crowds and difficulties with driving vehicles in the vicinity of Arlington National Cemetery due to road closures. To ensure the safety and security of its visitors, the cemetery has restricted personally owned vehicles from driving onto cemetery grounds during the duration of the event and is encouraging visitors to use Metrorail or Metrobus.
“We encourage volunteers to arrive early and recommend taking Metro to the Pentagon or Rosslyn stations and walking into the cemetery,” said Executive Director Karen Durham-Aguilera. “It’s a short 15-minute walk from these stations and the most seamless way to access our hallowed grounds on this special day.”
The Arlington National Cemetery gates – Main Entrance, South Gate and Ord & Weitzel -will open to the public at 8 a.m. All volunteers must pass through the cemetery’s security screening process before entering the cemetery.
Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall will be accessible to DoD ID card holders only; however, parking will be limited to the Tri Services parking lot located across from the Spates Community Center and Henderson Hall. Due to ongoing construction, the sole entry point to the cemetery from Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall will be the Old Post Chapel Gate.
There will be a brief opening ceremony inside the cemetery at the McClellan Gate at 8:30 a.m. General wreath placement will also begin at this time with the exception of those trucks in vicinity of the opening ceremony. They will begin wreath placements no later than 9 a.m.
Use Metro to Access the Cemetery
Due to anticipated congestion at the Arlington Cemetery Station, Metro recommends volunteers exit via the Rosslyn or Pentagon stations and walk to the cemetery. From these locations it is a short 15-minute walk to one of the cemetery entrances. If exiting at Rosslyn, you must enter the cemetery via the Ord & Weitzel gate by walking along the North Meade Street sidewalks. If exiting at the Pentagon, you must enter through the cemetery’s South Gate entrance by walking along North Rotary Road.
Limited general public parking will be available at the Pentagon North and South Parking lots. There will be Wreaths Across America volunteers and signage positioned in the parking lots guiding visitors to walk to the nearest cemetery entrances. For those parking in Pentagon South Parking, recommend walking to the cemetery’s South Gate entrance for screening and entry to the grounds. For those parking in Pentagon North Parking, recommend walking to the cemetery’s main entrance on Memorial Ave. by using the Route 27 pedestrian walkway.
There will be additional parking lots available for volunteers at a reduced $7 per day rate, within walking distance to the cemetery. These garages are located at: 1616 Fort Myer Drive; 1300 Wilson Blvd.; and 1655 North Fort Myer Drive.
Family Pass Holders/Handicapped Placards
ONLY family pass holders and those with handicapped placards will be allowed to park in the ANC Welcome Center parking garage.
Instructions: Family pass holders and those with handicapped plates/placards will need to go to Pentagon North Parking where their pass will be verified. They will then be directed to the ANC Welcome Center parking garage. Once the parking garage is full, drivers will be directed to other parking options.
Note: This is a change from last year. There is NO pre-registration required for family pass holder parking this year.
Ride Share Drop-off Locations
For those volunteers who plan to arrive via a ride share (i.e. Uber, Lyft), the drop off location is the Hayes lot (599-549 Army Navy Drive). From this point, volunteers will need to walk to the cemetery’s South Gate entrance.
Photo via Flickr/Jeff Reardon
Arlington National Cemetery is preparing to welcome thousands of volunteers tomorrow (Saturday) for its annual wreath removal event, and officials are urging participants to prepare for the big crowds.
Starting at 8 a.m., cemetery officials are expecting “traffic congestion and delays on nearby streets and at the cemetery’s entrances” for the “Wreaths Out” event, according to a news release.
Volunteers will be charged with disposing of the more than 245,000 wreaths distributed at headstones for the “Wreaths Across America” event last month.
“This is a special day where the wreaths placed at these hallowed grounds during the holiday season in remembrance and honor of our nation’s fallen service members and their families will be respectfully removed by volunteers,” Arlington National Cemetery Operations Director Micheal Migliara wrote in a statement. “We encourage volunteers to use all four entrances to access the cemetery which include Memorial Avenue, Ord and Weitzel gate, South gate and for DoD cardholders, the Old Post Chapel gate.”
Much like the wreath-laying event, the cemetery will block off all vehicle access to the grounds until 3 p.m. Saturday.
Family pass holders and volunteers with handicapped passes will be allowed to park in the ANC’s parking garage starting at 7 a.m., on a first-come, first-served basis. Anyone arriving by car should stay in their vehicle until the cemetery opens at 8 a.m.
People arriving via rideshare or taxi should plan on exiting somewhere adjacent to the Arlington Cemetery Metro stop. Officials also highly encourage people taking Metro to reach the event.
The cemetery also issued the following tips for volunteers:
- Give vehicles and heavy equipment the right of way and let them pass in roadways.
- Remove only WAA wreaths. Leave all other wreaths or decorations in place.
- Place wreaths in dumpsters positioned throughout the cemetery and pack them tightly.
- When dumpsters are filled, do not pile wreaths next to them. Carry wreaths to unfilled dumpsters.
- Refrain from jumping or climbing on wreaths in dumpsters to compress them.
Flickr photos via Arlington National Cemetery
Anyone planning on heading to Arlington National Cemetery for this weekend’s “Wreaths Across America” event might want to consider using public transit to get there, or prepare for some hefty delays.
ANC officials say they’ll be barring all personal vehicles from the cemetery’s grounds during the length of the annual wreath-laying event, set to run from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday (Dec. 15).
They’re also planning on welcoming a larger number of volunteers at the event than in years past, prompting “numerous changes to ensure the safety and security of those who participate,” according to a press release. Accordingly, officials are urging participants to arrive promptly at 8 a.m., and rely on Metro, if at all possible.
“We encourage all volunteers to arrive early and recommend taking the Pentagon or Rosslyn Metro and walking into the cemetery,”ANC Operations Director Micheal Migliara wrote in a statement. “It’s a short, 15-minute walk from these stops and the most seamless way to access our hallowed grounds on this special day.”
ANC leaders are expecting so many people to use the cemetery’s Metro stop that they expect the other stations will be a bit easier for visitors to use. Anyone getting off at Rosslyn should enter through the cemetery’s Ord & Weitzel gate by walking along the N. Meade Street sidewalks, and anyone getting off at the Pentagon station should use the cemetery’s South Gate entrance.
General public parking will still be available at the Pentagon’s north parking lot (in lanes 50-60) and south parking lot (lanes 1-18), as well as at the Pentagon City Mall parking garage.
The Arlington National Cemetery Welcome Center parking garage, however, will only be available to “ANC Family Pass holders” who have preregistered for the event.
All the cemetery’s gates will open to the public at 8 a.m., followed by an opening ceremony inside the cemetery at the McClellan Gate at 8:30 a.m. The wreath laying is set to start by 9 a.m.
County police are also warning of traffic changes starting at 5 a.m., including:
- Southgate Road, between Columbia Pike and S. Oak Street, will be closed and restricted to authorized vehicles only. Temporary no parking signs have been posted and vehicles in violation will be towed after noon today (Friday)
- Marshall Drive, between N. Meade Street and Rt. 110, will be closed and restricted to shuttle bus traffic only.
- Memorial Avenue, from Memorial Circle to the Ccmetery entrance will be closed.
- Access to the Memorial Bridge from southbound George Washington Parkway and northbound Rt. 110 will also be closed.
- Additional road closures will be implemented in locations along I-395, the G.W. Parkway, and the Pentagon Peservation by the Virginia State Police, U.S. Park Police, and the Pentagon Force Protection Agency.
- Other roads not listed may be closed for short duration at the discretion of law enforcement.
Flickr pool photo by Jeff Reardon
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
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A man has been charged with vandalizing the wreath placed during Arlington’s 9/11 memorial ceremony.
The incident happened in Courthouse just after 11 a.m. on Sunday, shortly after the ceremony.
Police say 51-year-old Charles Harris removed flowers from the wreath and left the petals on the sidewalk. He was charged with the crimes of Injuring a Memorial and Drunk in Public.
From an Arlington County Police crime report:
INJURING A MEMORIAL, 160911022, 1500 block of N. Courthouse Road. At approximately 11:16 a.m. on September 11, police were dispatched to the report of a subject destroying the 9/11 Memorial Wreath used during the County’s September 11 Observance. Upon arrival, officers observed the subject removing flowers from the wreath and discarding petals on the sidewalk. Charles Harris, 51, of No Fixed Address was arrested and charged with Injuring a Memorial and Drunk In Public. He was held on a $1,000 secured bond.
Gates open to the public at 8 a.m. Saturday and an opening ceremony is planned at 9. The wreath laying is expected to begin at 10 a.m., followed by a closing ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at noon.
Metro says it will be operating on a normal weekend schedule Saturday morning, but all Blue Line trains — which service the Arlington Cemetery station — will be eight cars long in order to accommodate as many riders as possible.
“Arlington Cemetery Station is one of the smallest on the Metrorail system and can be expected to become crowded before and after the event,” Metro said on its website. “During peak crowding times, Arlington Cemetery escalators may be configured as ‘exit only’ before the event and ‘entry only’ after the event. Customers traveling in the reverse direction will be directed to station elevators.”
Metro riders should consider getting off at the Rosslyn station, from which Arlington National Cemetery is “a short walk to the south,” the transit agency suggested. Free shuttle buses will also be provided from the Pentagon Metro station to the cemetery.
Flickr pool photo by Jeff Reardon
Wreath Shortfall Projected for Cemetery — Wreaths Across America projects it will be 30,000 short of its goal of 230,000 wreaths to place on graves at Arlington National Cemetery this year. The organization is hoping more donors step up before its fundraising deadline tomorrow. [Fox News]
Arlington Ranks No. 2 for Roommates — Among major U.S. localities, Arlington ranks No. 2 for having the highest percentage of adults living with roommates. According to the website, 23 percent of 18-39 year olds in Arlington live with a roommate. That compares to 21 percent for the No. 4 city, Washington, D.C. [Priceonomics via Greater Greater Washington]
Barbershop Chorus to Sing at Metro Stations — The Arlingtones, a barbershop chorus, will be performing barbershop music at three local Orange Line Metro stations this month. [InsideNova]
Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf
More than 25,000 volunteers are expected to flock to Arlington National Cemetery tomorrow (Saturday, Dec. 13) to place wreaths on the graves of hundreds of thousands of veterans for the holidays.
The group Wreaths Across America, now in its 23rd year, hopes to place wreaths on all 230,000 graves in the cemetery this year.
An opening ceremony will be held at 9:00 a.m. at the McClellan Arch, and volunteers will begin laying wreaths at 9:30 a.m. Separate wreath laying ceremonies are planned at the President Kennedy gravesite, the USS Maine Mast and the Tomb of the Unknowns.
Instructions on how to volunteer and how to get to the cemetery (take Metro, don’t drive) are available on the Wreaths Across America website and in the video above.
Flickr pool photo by Sunday Money
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.