Wreaths Across America has placed commemorative wreaths on the headstones of hundreds of thousands of veterans since 1992. With 230,000 fallen soldiers, Arlington National Cemetery is the largest of their projects. However, because of a lack of funds, 30,000 graves at Arlington will have to remain without a garland.
The project is not government-sponsored, leaving the organization responsible for raising $3.45 million to fund the $15 wreaths on each Arlington tombstone. As of Wednesday night, Wreaths Across America was $450,000 short of reaching its goal with five days until the Tuesday, Dec. 1 deadline.
Now, the group is hoping more donors will pitch in so every serviceman and woman buried at Arlington can be remembered.
A featured video on the Wreaths Across America website explains why the group dedicates time every year to bring wreaths to these deceased veterans. “A lot of these stones don’t have people anymore to come by and pay respect,” one participant explains. Brad Winchester, a Patriot Guard Rider, said “These men and women give everything for their country and this is an opportunity just to give a little bit back.”
Others involved with the organization emphasize how the program offers a way to “honor the fallen” and “teach children the value of freedom.”
Thousands of volunteers are expected to help Wreaths Across America place the garlands on tombstones at Arlington National Cemetery on Saturday, Dec. 12.
It is a small way to thank them for their service, but at the very least, Every Fallen Hero Deserves a Wreath.