Wreaths Across America seeking volunteers, donations

Help needed to remember, honor and teach at veterans’ cemeteries

By Gary Lott on November 21, 2019

Holidays can be an especially hard time for remaining military spouses, families, friends and/or community members of service members who are no longer with us.

The Wreaths Across America (WAA) program helps to honor and remember those fallen and to help teach the next generation the importance of honoring those who protect our freedoms.

Each December on National Wreaths Across America Day (Dec. 14 this year), the WAA program implements their mission to "Remember, Honor and Teach." This is carried out each year by coordinating wreath-laying ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery, as well as at more than 1,600 additional locations in all 50 U.S. states, at sea and even abroad.

Donations are needed every year to "Sponsor a Wreath" to help honor and remember a fallen veteran.

"Each sponsorship will help to ensure that a wreath is hand-crafted of all-American balsam and hand-tied with a red velvet bow," according to the WAA website. "It will then be sent to one of the Wreaths Across America's participating locations, where a volunteer will place it on the marker of a fallen hero. That volunteer will then ‘say their name' to ensure that the legacy of duty, service and sacrifice of that veteran is never forgotten."

Along with donations for wreaths to be placed on veterans' gravestones, the WAA program also seeks volunteers to help with numerous duties needed Dec. 14 for the National WAA events.

Volunteers are typically asked to lay wreaths on Wreaths Day (Dec. 14) at various cemeteries, can be asked to help coordinate a ceremony or specific location, to lead a fundraising group and/or to help to raise funds for wreaths sponsorships.

WAA conducts several other programs to honor veterans, including the Thanks-A-Million campaign, which distributes free thank-you cards to people all over the country to share with veterans as a simple way to say "thank you" for their service.

The WAA group also participates in veterans' events throughout the year and has an on-staff veteran liaison to work with and assist local veterans' organizations, as well as public outreach through Veterans Day and Memorial Day programs, public service announcements, press coverage and the WAA website.

Another way that the WAA program is honoring service members is with the Veterans Remembrance Tree Program.

The WAA established a program for Gold Star families (lost a family member to service-connected death) to provide a living memorial to lost loved ones by having a personally customized dog tag that is then used in the remembrance tree program process. For more information on the Veterans Remembrance Program, please call 1.877.385.9504. 

Even if one is unsure or does not have a specific cemetery or veteran to honor, the WAA program can still use the help.

Finding out which cemeteries can use help is simple with a quick search on the WAA website. Anyone can search via city, zip code, state or by using a direct cemetery donation code.

Local Washington State Cemeteries Seeking Donations: (Cemetery Donation Codes)

Visit WreathsAcrossAmerica.org to find the full list of events taking place and to donate or volunteer at a location of your choosing. If you would prefer to donate to a local fundraising group, just click the "View" button on the webpage.