Wreaths Across America helps family members and volunteers lay wreaths at the gravestones of those who have served our country — not only at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va., but at some 2,500 locations across the U.S. In addition, the nonprofit Wreaths Across America also ships some 2.4 million wreaths to 3,136 locations around the world, Fox 5 DC reported.
“I have a deep appreciation for those who serve and who give up part of their life, or sometimes all of it,” Cindy Kauffman, daughter of a US Army veteran, told Fox News Digital on Saturday. She regularly participates in Wreaths Across America events for veterans at cemeteries in and around the Hawthorne, New York, area. This year she spent most of Saturday, Dec. 18, outdoors at various wreath-laying ceremonies and events.
“Honoring veterans is extremely important,” she added. “It’s extremely important that we don’t ever forget what our veterans have done for us. They’ve been giving their lives for our freedom. Those who serve deserve our respect.”
Kauffman’s father was an Army pilot; she has other relatives who served in the military as well. “My parents raised me to love and appreciate the flag, the Constitution, and our country,” she also said. But it wasn’t until she learned of great-great-grandfathers who served in the American Revolution that she “felt a need to teach other people what they and every other soldier since then have fought for,” she told Fox News Digital.
In the tweet just below, volunteers in the Tampa, Fla., area are shown gathering and laying out wreaths on Saturday.
This year, on Friday morning, Gold Star families — people who have lost an immediate family member who died serving in a time of conflict — visited the National Mall and put wreaths along the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the Korean War Veterans Memorial, and the WWI and WWII Memorials, as Fox 5 DC noted.
At Arlington National Cemetery, volunteers on Saturday morning began placing hundreds of thousands of wreaths at the gravesites of America’s fallen service members.
Wreaths are shown covered in snow next to markers at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, on Jan. 6, 2015, after a small winter storm. AFP PHOTO/JIM WATSON. (Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)
Wreaths Across America is the country’s longest veterans’ parade.
This year on Dec. 11, it began its annual march down the East Coast (originating in Maine and culminating at Arlington National Cemetery). On that date, it started its delivery of wreaths to schools, memorials, and other locations to honor, remember, and teach about those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for our country.
Saturday, Dec. 18, is National Wreaths Across America Day, a day designated as such by Congress.
Its goal is to “remember our fallen U.S. heroes, honor those who serve, and teach your children the value of freedom,” the nonprofit’s website notes.
In this photo from Dec. 13, 2008, wreaths are seen on graves at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va. Worchester Wreath Company of Harrington, Maine, and the Maine State Society sponsored the event in which thousands upon thousands of holiday wreaths were placed at graves in Section 12 of Arlington National Cemetery. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images)
The group says as well, “While coordinating wreath-laying ceremonies each December on National Wreaths Across America Day is a big part of what we do, our mission to Remember, Honor, and Teach is carried out throughout the year. From our Remembrance Tree program to the Wreaths Across America Museum in Maine, there are many different ways in which you can get involved!”
As Fox News reported last month, Chevrolet is continuing its sponsorship of the parade for the seventh year in a row, providing vehicles to transport the Gold Star families and veterans. It is also supplying 4,000 wreaths for deceased veterans that are being placed at Arlington National Cemetery.
“Nobody should be forgotten during the holiday season, especially our veterans.”
— Cindy Kauffman to Fox News Digital
In 2020, the annual parade effort looked a bit different because of COVID restrictions at the time. Wreath’s Across America’s founder, Karen Worcester, told Fox43 last year that the escort of wreaths to Arlington National Cemetery had to have a different look and feel due to the pandemic.
“Normally we take a whole week and we literally, literally, see thousands of kids and families on the side of the road and go into schools and communities,” Worcester told the Fox affiliate in Norfolk, Va., last year.
The convoy effort went largely virtual in 2020. “We’ve been able to secure a little broadcasting system that’s going to allow us to broadcast as we go down the street, and they can turn to a local FM station,” she said last year. “We’ll also be doing some interactive things, like [asking people to] show us a sign of who [they’re] remembering or show [their] flag. And we’ll be giving away some gifts.”
This year, the meaningful campaign to remember America’s fallen heroes during the holiday season returned in near-full force. “Nobody should be forgotten during the holiday season, especially our veterans,” said Cindy Kauffman.