Every December, thousands of volunteers lay wreaths on the graves at Arlington National Cemetery as a way of honoring our fallen service members.
But this year, not every grave may be adorned, as the nonprofit group Wreaths Across America is experiencing a shortage of $525,000. They are planning to lay 100,000 wreaths on December 14, which is 35,000 fewer than they had hoped for.
"Our donations are up overall nationwide, but some of our larger corporate sponsors want to fund [wreaths] in other areas," Wayne Hanson, president of the group’s board of directors told the Post.
"It’s great because we’re getting veterans recognized at other locations, and I would love to see wreaths on every single veteran’s grave across America, but I consider Arlington our nation’s premier cemetery."
The tradition of laying wreaths on our nation’s heroes’ tombstones began in 1992, when Morrill and Karen Worcester had 5,000 wreaths leftover from their business Worcester Wreath.
In 2005, a photo of the tradition went viral, and people starting sending donations to cover the break-even $15 cost of the wreaths. A nonprofit was formed, and the rest is history.
In 2012, Wreaths Across America laid 400,000 wreaths in 800 veterans’ cemeteries across the U.S.
What a fantastic tradition! It seems like with all the things our government wastes money on, they could figure out how to shift some funds to cover this cost, but at the same time I like that it’s a volunteer effort.
Those that served in the military deserve our greatest respect, and this is a great way to honor them.
If you would like to help honor more fallen soldiers, head on over to the Wreath Across America webpage to volunteer or make a donation.
What charities do you like to help this time of year?
Image via Kunal Mukherjee/Flickr