‘Wreaths Across America’ Places More than 2.4 Million Wreaths on Veterans’ Headstones
On Saturday more than 2.4 million wreaths were placed on veterans’ headstones at 3,136 locations across the United States.
It took the efforts of more than two million volunteers nationwide to make the placements possible. Approximately one-third of the volunteers were children.
The initiative is spearheaded every year by the non-profit group Wreaths Across America. The group was started in 1992 by Morrill Worcester, a businessman from Maine who began laying wreaths at Arlington National Cemetery. Now, with the mission of “Remember, Honor, Teach,” the groups lays wreaths at thousands of veterans’ cemeteries and other locations.
"Remember, Honor, Teach" refers to the belief that Americans need to “Remember the fallen, Honor those that serve and their families, and Teach the next generation the value of freedom.”
There is no cost for cemeteries to participate and the group relies on donations to purchase and coordinate the ceremonies. In New York there are two cemeteries that actively participate: Western New York National Cemetery and the Bayview New York Bay Cemetery.
The Oswego City Police Department participated in a ceremony at Fort Ontario.
This year Wreaths Across America delivered more than 250,000 wreaths at Arlington National Cemetery alone. It took 66 tractor trailers to contain all of the live, balsam wreaths and approximately 38,000 volunteers to place them. The year 2021 marked the 30th anniversary of the event at Arlington. Worcester was among those laying wreaths at Arlington. In a release Mr. Worcester said,
“When I brought down those 5,000 wreaths that first year, I just thought it was a way for me to say thank you, for what we have in this Country. I could have never imagined it would strike a chord like it has and make such an impact. Me and my family continued to be humbled by the support this program receives across the country.”
Evergreens serve as a symbol of honor and a living tribute that it renewed annually. During the wreath laying ceremonies servicemember’s names are read out loud, ensuring that their memory is always kept alive.
Next year the event will be held on December 17, 2022.
More information about the group can be found at: www.wreathsacrossamerica.org.