Marty van Duyne / News Net News
December 15th was National Wreaths Across America Day, an annual event to remember and honor our fallen heroes every third Saturday of December. Americans lay wreaths on the tombstones of soldiers across all 50 states, a tradition that was started nearly 30 years ago.
This touching tradition began in Maine in 1992 by Morrill Worcester. During a brief interview, Morrill told reporters the idea was ingrained in him when he went on a trip to Arlington National Cemetery in Washington D.C. as a youngster. He remembered feeling that it was those men and women that allowed him and everyone he knew to be free by paying the ultimate price.
Fast forward two decades and Morrill had a flourishing business called Worcester Wreath Company. Not letting go of the feeling he had as a little boy, he started donating his excess wreaths at the end of the holiday season, volunteers stepping in to help him distribute them at various local veteran cemeteries.
Please join us in honoring the life, service, and sacrifice of Army Air Forces First Lieutenant Robert W Finwall. He served during WWII and made the ultimate sacrifice on this day in 1941. pic.twitter.com/UJFM87h5M7
— WreathsAcrossAmerica (@WreathsAcross) December 12, 2018
By 2007 the tradition expended from just Maine to all 50 states, many new sponsors, donors and volunteers working for the new non-profit called Wreaths Across America.
Perhaps the biggest challenge for Wreaths Across America is covering our nation’s biggest veteran cemetery, Arlington National Cemetery. There are over 400,000 graves neatly placed over 624 acres of land and honoring every one of them with a wreath is quite a task.
Thanks to Wreaths Across America, it was made a bit easier. As the gates of Arlington Cemetery opened at 8 a.m. EST, over 58,000 volunteers entered the grounds ready to put a wreath on every grave supplied by the foundation.
Sadly, all the volunteers, donors and sponsor were still unable to honor every grave as they were over 100, 000 wreaths short. Luckily, you can do something to help.
Volunteering in this event doesn’t just mean giving money away. Although it’s actual cash that enables the foundation to acquire the wreaths, your ability to donate your time to the cause is just as valuable.
The foundation’s official website, wreathsacrsossamerica.org, can guide you through the process. It has a comprehensive list of all the cemeteries that are involved in your state and who to call or email to donate your time they need so much.