Every year Wreaths Across America volunteers and supporters honor the sacrifices of U.S. military veterans by placing wreaths at veterans’ gravesites at more than 3,400 locations domestic and abroad, including several in Maryland.
Most of the wreath-laying ceremonies for this year’s National Wreaths Across America Day will be Saturday, Dec. 17, 2022. If you are looking to show your support, there are a few ways to get involved.
The Wreaths Across America nonprofit was founded in 2007 to continue and expand the annual wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Ceremony started in 1992 by businessman Morrill Worcester. Wreaths Across America also coordinates veteran services and recognition through a variety of programs, and provide schools with teaching aides for projects throughout the year.
A weeklong parade carries the wreaths from Maine to Arlington National Cemetery. This week of events is possible through the work of volunteers who organize local ceremonies, raise funds to sponsor wreath, and participate in the events. The cost of the programs is paid by individual wreaths sponsors, corporate donors and volunteer truckers.
The organization is always looking for sponsors to help provide wreaths to honor those who have served. Becoming a sponsor allows you to send wreaths to a chosen location, local sponsorship group or to any location where there is a need. Find out more about sponsoring a wreath here.
Wreath sponsorship options range from 1 wreath for $15 to 10 wreaths for $150. You can also provide a custom amount or choose to have an additional wreath send to your home or a loved one.
In addition to sponsors, the organization also needs volunteers to help place wreaths at participating sites. They welcome everyone of all ages so this is a great opportunity for families to teach as well as remember.
To see which locations need wreaths, volunteers or are performing ceremonies, you can search for locations on their website. There are over 100 locations in Maryland listed.
Here are a few:
Remembrance Tree Program
Wreaths Across America also has a program called Remembrance Tree Program as another way to honor veterans. This free program allows families of veterans to choose a tree to dedicate to their loved one. The balsam tips from these trees are harvested every three years to create the wreaths that are then placed on gravesites of veterans. Although this program is free for families of veterans, you can help support it through donations.
One of the missions of the program is to teach the next generation about the stories of service and sacrifice. In an effort to aid educators in sharing this important part of America’s history, they created an entire library of lesson plans for students from kindergarten to 12th grade. They also began an oral history project where students are encouraged to interview a veteran to record and learn more about their service.
Other ways to support Wreaths Across America include merchandise such as early education package, service appreciation thank-you cards, baseball caps and a calendar.
See more at wreathsacrossamerica.org.