Wreaths Across America is held at the Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia. In 1992, a company found themselves with leftover wreaths that went unsold, and the company wanted to honor the veterans who served this country. The additional wreaths were placed on the gravesites of many of these American heroes.
Local people came together to volunteer, supply transportation to the cemetery and tie red bows to make the wreaths more festive. Once they are made, they are put into trucks and driven to Arlington. Thousands of people offer their time to place the beautiful wreaths on the graves as an act of recognition and thanks to the soldiers.
It was a local event until 2005, when an image of the cemetery powdered with a fresh layer of snow went viral. Ever since then, the occasion has gained national attention, reigning in even more volunteers who come from across the country. Now, seven wreaths are sent to all 50 states for each respective branch of the military, as well for the POW/MIAs. In addition to that, other countries participate in the event.
Wreaths Across America, a somber yet uplifting event, is welcoming to people of all backgrounds and ages, and veterans come to support their history as well as their fallen brothers. In 2015, Toby Keith performed to add entertainment. The movement seems to expand every year as more and more want to lend a helping hand.
“I love volunteering. It’s for a great cause, and my grandfather is buried in Arlington. Every year I see more and more people come out, and it’s really an amazing thing to see so many people come together and honor the fallen. I plan to do this for many more years to come,” said Pat Rocke, a chief of one of the trucks, who has been participating in this event for a couple of years now.
Mission BBQ has also joined the Wreaths Across America team. The company has one mission: to serve those who serve. They sell “American Heroes” cups, and the proceeds of each cup sold go to a national or local place with uniformed heroes. During the holiday season, Mission BBQ is selling white cups designed tastefully with holiday colors, red and green. The proceeds of these cups go directly to Wreaths Across America to assist in making more wreaths to recognize more fallen heroes.
Mission BBQ employees compete with each other to see who can sell the most cups and raise the most money. Mt. Hebron senior Claire Needham, a service representative at Mission BBQ, shared her insight.
“I enjoyed selling the cups because it was for a good cause. I related to it since my dad and I have laid wreaths in Arlington for the past couple of years and all my grandfathers are buried there. I had a few customers say they had family members buried there and thanked us for doing the cups. I feel like Mission raised a really good amount of money,” Needham said.
The wreaths will be taken down in January, and any lending hand would be extremely helpful.