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Wreaths Across America Honoring Fallen Veterans During The Holidays

  • WHEN Saturday, December 16, 2017 at 9 a.m.
  • WHERE Fort Rosecrans, Miramar, Greenwood and Valley Center Cemeteries
    Map
  • AGES All ages
  • COST Free

On September 7, Wreaths Across America (WAA), officially kicked off the 100-day countdown to Wreath Day at more than 1,300 locations spanning the country from Washington D.C. to San Diego.

The Countdown, titled “100 Reasons Why We Remember, Honor and Teach” has volunteers and financial sponsors busily preparing for the day, Saturday, December 16, when a million volunteers will place live balsam fir wreaths with a red bow on veterans’ headstones. This year will also bring a new tradition; stones will be placed on the headstones of Jewish veterans, a tradition that began thousands of years ago in Israel.

From now through November, volunteers will host various fundraisers to sponsor the estimated 113,000 wreaths needed to adorn every veteran’s grave in San Diego County. Each wreath sponsorship is $15.00, and when two are paid for, a third will be provided with the order. Four local cemeteries are participating in the WAA project, Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery, Miramar National Cemetery, Greenwood Memorial Park, and the newly added Valley Center Cemetery.

History of Wreaths Across America

This national honoring of fallen veterans arose from humble beginnings. In December 1992, Morrell Worcester of Maine, the owner of Worcester Wreath Company, found himself with a surplus of wreaths. Arrangements were then made to place the extra 5,000 wreaths in one of the older sections of Arlington National Cemetery. Morrell and his family continued the practice each year, and it became a quiet family tradition. In 2005, a Pentagon photographer published a now-iconic picture of rows of wreaths against the headstones surrounded by snow and everything changed.

The Worcesters and their business were soon overwhelmed with many media inquiries and displays of public support, that two years later the national non-profit organization, Wreaths Across America, became a reality. Its goal of providing wreaths for ceremonies across the country was part of the group’s mission to “Remember our U.S. fallen veterans, remember those who serve and teach your children the value of freedom."

In 2008, Congress decreed that a specific Saturday of December to be Wreaths Across America Day. The Worcester Wreath Company continues to produce the wreaths, which are then trucked all over the nation by volunteer trucking companies and drivers.

WAA of San Diego teams with individuals, groups, organizations, businesses and corporations to sponsor wreaths. Volunteers are hoping that this year more people will sponsor wreaths in order to accomplish the goal of about 113,000 wreath for every veteran headstone. More information, including how to sponsor wreaths, can be found on the San Diego WAA website.

Dates and times of events are subject to change without notice. Always check the event organizer's website for the most updated schedule before attending.

Photo of a past wreath-laying day. Courtesy of Wreaths Across America.

Above: Photo of a past wreath-laying day. Courtesy of Wreaths Across America.

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