Wreaths Across America honors veterans during the holidays
U.S. Civil Air Patrol Capt. Garry A. Nussey, San Angelo Composite Squadron, lays a wreath at the Belvedere Cemetery in San Angelo, Texas, on Dec. 12, 2015. The wreath was to honor the deceased veteran Pfc. Norl Wilson. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Chase Sousa/Released)
By Tracy Fuga
During the holiday season, many people feel compelled to help others in need. Whether that is through volunteering at a homeless shelter or collecting toys for underprivileged children, there are many ways to give back to the community. Getting involved with Wreaths Across America is an opportunity to honor those who made the biggest sacrifice: veterans who lost their lives defending our nation.
Wreaths Across America was started in 1992 by Morrill Worcester. His business, Worcester Wreath Company, had a surplus of wreaths toward the end of the holiday season and he wanted to put them to good use. When he was 12, Worcester had visited Arlington National Cemetery and the experience stuck with him. He was reminded of the sacrifice some had made in order for others, including himself, to succeed and flourish.
With the aid of Maine Sen. Olympia Snowe, arrangements were made for the extra wreaths to be placed at Arlington in one of the older sections of the cemetery that had been receiving fewer visitors with each passing year. Volunteers came forward to help deliver and place the wreaths.
In 2007, the Wreaths Across America nonprofit group was founded. The event has expanded to all 50 states to lay wreaths at veterans’ cemeteries to remember our fallen heroes, honor those who serve and teach our children about the sacrifices made by veterans and their families.
Volunteers are encouraged to say the veteran’s name aloud and take a moment to thank them for their service as they place the wreath.
“We are not here to ‘decorate graves.’ We’re here to remember not their deaths, but their lives,” said Karen Worcester, executive director of Wreaths Across America, on the group’s website.
Wreaths Across America traditionally lays wreaths on the second Saturday in December. Beginning this year, wreaths will be laid on the third Saturday of December, Dec. 17. Visit www.wreathsacrossamerica.org to find out how you can volunteer, attend a ceremony or donate to this cause.