This gathering of individuals and communities takes place in local and national cemeteries in all 50 states as part of National Wreaths Across America Day. Each year, a new theme is chosen to help supporters focus their messaging and outreach in ther own communities. The theme for 2018 is “Be their witness”.
The inspiration for this year’s theme stems from the 2009 drama “Taking Chance”, which was based on the experiences of U.S. Marine Lt. Colonel Michael Strobl, who escorted the body of a fallen Marine, PFC Chance Phelps, back to his hometown in Wyoming from the Iraq War.
“I was deeply impacted by this story and found it difficult at times to fathom the burden this young man carried in his task. Lt. Col. Strobl volunteered to be a witness for PFC Phelps, and as the movie so eloquently states, he is now responsible in no small part for PFC Phelp’s legacy,” said Karen Worcester, executive director, Wreaths Across America. “Through the Wreaths Across America program, we are ensuring that the lives of our men and women in uniform are remembered, not their deaths. It is our responsibility as Americans, to be their witness and to share their stories of service and sacrifice with the next generation.”
The millions of volunteers who devote so much of themselves to raise awareness for the mission to Remember, Honor, Teach, in their own communities utilize the annual theme when planning local events and activities in preparation for National Wreaths Across America Day, which will take place this year on Dec. 15.
In 2017, more than 1.5 million veteran wreaths were placed on headstones at 1,422 participating cemeteries around the country in honor of the service and sacrifices made for our freedoms, with each name said out loud.
National Wreaths Across America Day is a free event and open to all people. For more information on how to volunteer or sponsor a wreath for a local hero, visit www.wreathsacrossamerica.org.