Emergency Preparedness

Paying Tribute to Your Military

Would you want to honor army servicemembers this December? If you need to present your appreciation for our army and the sacrifices they’ve made to defend us, think about volunteering for Wreaths Across America, happening on Saturday, December 16. For 2023, the theme is #ServeAndSucceed.

What Is Wreaths Across America?

Wreaths Across America is an annual occasion occurring each December on a Saturday. All over the nation, Wreaths Across America volunteers head out to army cemeteries to lay giant wreaths adorned with purple ribbons on servicemembers’ graves.

However, some graves, similar to Jewish graves marked with a Star of David, should not applicable place to add the Christian image of a wreath. Out of respect for Jewish servicemembers buried there, volunteers are inspired to as a substitute say a brief prayer that features the servicemember’s title.

The History of Wreaths Across America

So how did Wreaths Across America get began? This occasion originated in Harrington, Maine, according to the U.S. Department of Defense.

In 1992, the Worcester household, who owned a tree farm, had further wreaths throughout the vacation season. Morrill Worcester, the household patriarch, requested a Maine politician for assist and organized to have the spare wreaths donated to the less-visited graves in Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia.

Volunteers from the American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, and a truck firm supplied to assist, and the primary ceremony passed off at Arlington National Cemetery’s Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Arlington National Cemetery continued the custom every year, however then the occasion went viral after somebody shared a photograph of the ceremony on-line in 2005.

People in different states wished to understand how they may begin an analogous custom. Now, Wreaths Across America has grown into an enormous occasion, extending throughout all 50 states and involving hundreds of civilian and army volunteers, a whole lot of taking part areas, and a lot of firms.

What Do Wreaths Across America Volunteers Do?

Volunteering for Wreaths Across America is straightforward. At the Wreaths Across America web site, you possibly can locate a military cemetery near you and join to volunteer.

On the day of Wreaths Across America, you go to the army cemetery you’ve chosen on the designated time within the morning. For the wreath-laying ceremony, vehicles will probably be ready with packing containers of wreaths.

Some volunteers hand out wreaths whereas others carry them out to place on the servicemembers’ graves within the cemetery. When the packing containers are emptied, volunteers clear up and go residence.

Related: Wreaths Across America: The Importance of Life’s Rituals

Pro Tips for This Event

This yr’s Wreaths Across America will happen on Saturday, December 16. Since I’ve participated on this occasion since 2015, I’ve some professional suggestions for any volunteers:

  • Be positive to join prematurely and in addition deliver a driver’s license or an analogous government-issued ID with you. Some cemeteries positioned on or close to army bases would require you to present your ID for safety functions.
  • Check the climate prematurely and gown appropriately. Hilly areas similar to Arlington National Cemetery can get VERY chilly within the morning due to freezing December winds. I typically deliver chemical hand heaters to hand out to others who come to this occasion with out gloves.
  • Wear washable gloves. The wreaths scent great, however I like to recommend dealing with them with gloves due to all of the needles.

Wreath Donations Are Appreciated

If you possibly can’t volunteer for Wreaths Across America on December 16, you possibly can nonetheless become involved by sponsoring one or more wreaths. Designate which location you need to assist to guarantee your wreath will get to the placement you need. The Wreaths Across America web site additionally has apparel and other items for sale.

Remember, Honor and Teach: The Primary Purpose of Wreaths Across America

Wreaths Across America attracts all kinds of individuals, similar to present U.S. servicemembers, veterans, international servicemembers, members of the general public and native service organizations. People come for numerous causes: some need to honor relations or buddies buried there, whereas others like me simply need to present their appreciation for the army.

Although Wreaths Across America is a sober occasion, it’s fascinating to chat with folks from so many various walks of life and uncover why they’ve chosen to keep in mind and honor somebody. It’s additionally a very good probability to educate kids and youths concerning the army and about historical past.

This December 16, please think about signing up to volunteer or to sponsor a wreath. Wreaths Across America is likely one of the most significant methods that you would be able to honor our army.

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