Another Memorial Day has come and gone, with remembrances of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our great nation. The next opportunity to remember the fallen will be during the holidays. Wreaths Across America announced that with the 20th year anniversary of the Arlington Wreath Project, it will undertake the goal of placing over 300,000 wreaths at Arlington National Cemetery this December. The 20th anniversary and 2011 goal will be part of a national effort to give "The Christmas They Never Had" in honor of veterans who lost their holidays with family and friends during their time of service and sacrifice.
The Arlington Wreath program was started by Morrill Worcester of Worcester Wreath Co. in 1992 with his donation and laying of 5000 Christmas wreaths in the National Cemetery. It was an obscure annual occurrence until 2005 when a photo of the stones adorned with the wreaths and covered in snow circulated on the internet, giving the project national attention. Thousands of requests poured in from all over the country from people wanting to emulate the Arlington project at their National and State cemeteries. Unable to donate thousands of wreaths to each state, Mr. Worcester conceived the idea of sending 7 wreaths, representing each branch of the military plus a MIA/POW wreath. In 2006 with the help of the Civil Air Patrol and other civic organizations, over 150 locations held wreath laying ceremonies simultaneously with the Arlington ceremony. By 2007 the requests for more wreaths grew. The Worcester family established the nonprofit group Wreaths Across America to further promote Veterans remembrance. By 2008 over 300 locations held wreath laying ceremonies in every state, Puerto Rico and in 24 overseas ceremonies. Over 100,000 wreaths were placed on veteran's graves with over 60,000 volunteers participating. The company continues to be a major supporter of the project, donating over 40,000 total wreaths the last 2 years. In 2010 over 200,000 wreaths were sponsored by individuals, businesses and groups from communities nationwide. Wreaths were placed in all 50 states from Maine to Alaska and Hawaii, and at 24 National Cemeteries on foreign soil.
Wreaths Across America has grown quickly to encompass over 500 participating locations and over 160,000 volunteers around the country. Their mission is to Remember, Honor, and Teach. Remember the fallen, Honor those who serve including their families who sacrifice, and Teach our children the cost of the freedoms we enjoy each day.
Locally the Colorado River Chapter, United Daughters of the Confederacy will sponsor Wreaths Across America this calendar year. Members of the chapter have signed on as Location Leaders who are actively taking orders now through mid November for wreaths to be placed on veterans graves of all conflicts in San Saba and Mills County cemeteries. Wreaths will arrive in early December to be placed on the gravesites at 11 am, December 10, 2011 in conjunction with the National Remembrance Ceremony at Arlington.
To sponsor a wreath in San Saba county, please call your Location Leader, Rosemary Cox at 325-372-4190. The wreaths are $15 each, made from high quality Marine balsam, adorned with a hand-tied red bow. The deadline for ordering is November 15. Orders may be grave specific in San Saba Cemetery or a donation for any veteran. The task of our chapter is to gain sponsorships of wreaths for the almost 400 veterans buried in San Saba Cemetery and for them to be remembered during the holidays for the Christmases they never had.