"If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten"~Kipling
Since our earliest days, scribes have painstakingly preserved the actions, proclamations, and discoveries of humankind in the hope of providing some semblance of record from which future generations could learn and gain insight.
It seems every veteran we have the pleasure of meeting enforces the importance of that documentation and gives the same thoughtful and cautionary advice that shapes the foundation of our mission to remember, honor, and teach. That advice is never to forget our history and to share that knowledge with younger generations, so they understand the sacrifices made to protect our values and freedoms.
At Wreaths Across America, we know every stone tells a story, and some of those stories will come to life on National Wreaths Across America Day, Saturday, December 17, 2016, as we Say Their Names.
We encourage your involvement in our Inaugural Living History Project, and we're signing up volunteers to dress in period attire from 7:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, December 17, 2016. You will need to provide your authentic attire and will be assigned to a particular location within or around Arlington National Cemetery. The Living History Project is a perfect opportunity for historical reenactment groups or organizations to get involved in the Wreaths Across America mission.
While “on-duty” you will greet the volunteers distributing wreaths and other visitors with a silent acknowledgment (salute, nod, bow or curtsy). If engaged by visitors, you’ll be free to explain your portrayal and encourage them to learn more about the people and places who contributed to our nation's history.
You will be making history with the inauguration of Wreaths Across America’s Living History Project and your contribution will immeasurably enhance a memorable event for all who attend.
***(Security requirements strictly prohibit the use of any weapons (actual, imitation, replica, handmade, 3D, etc. ) or flags as part of your period attire or exhibit)***
Volunteer signup is here. If you can't volunteer in Arlington but would still like to participate in our Living History Project, we may be able to place you in one of our other participating cemetery locations throughout the country.
"I was very determined to survive the war. I never thought I would not survive. If I had allowed myself to think that I would have been done. My big goal was to revenge my past but not with bitterness and vengeance."
Jeff says a lot of drivers who work for Buchheit think it would be exciting to participate in the Wreaths Across America effort. They're right! However, hauling a truckload of America's respect is a privileged duty reserved for certain employees.
It seems fitting that on Earth Day this year Wreaths Across America will pay tribute to our nation's EOD Technicians in a Stem to Stone Tree-Tagging event on April 22 during which the names of over three hundred fallen service members will be said aloud as their replica dog tags are placed on the tip land in Maine.
Mike and Barbara are proud and patriotic Americans who understand the great personal sacrifices of our military families. They have also witnessed the powerful impact one fresh balsam fir wreath with a red bow has on the living. Mike gets choked up when he recalls one particular example.
"We're always conscientious about the carbon footprint we leave so we have to be sure the process is safe, efficient, and compliant with federal regulations," Debbie explains. "We want to make sure it's fuel efficient and a good run, that we've got the truck full, that a rested driver is ready to go, and all that plays into the coordination effort."
Nicole says she's thankful for those fellow Location Coordinators who have helped her and she's honored to provide the same support to those who might be thinking about starting a Wreaths Across America ceremony in their community cemetery.
It was inspiring last year when Jimmy and his wife Cathy realized their volunteer effort with Wreaths Across America was helping the organization grow and indeed making an impression on younger generations.
“The trucking community has been extremely dedicated to Wreaths Across America over the years, but support doesn’t come exclusively from drivers,” Karen Worcester explained. “Some of the most important contributions come from those behind the scenes, like Wendy.
Bill admits he too was "hooked" on the effort to remember, honor, and teach as soon as he saw a fresh, hand-made remembrance wreath laying against the headstone of a fallen hero over the holidays.
Peter stands 16.3 hands tall and was selected as a Caisson Platoon horse because of his color, size, focus, and behavior. Those who met Peter at his Open House on St. Patrick's Day were amazed at his size and docile temperament with one woman referring to him as a "gentle giant."
"It doesn't all happen in Arlington. It's all across the country, and perhaps you could start your involvement in your hometown and involve your family so people can see just how important trucking is to the mission.
"It makes these drivers feel good about themselves, it makes them feel good about their companies, it makes them feel good about their country and being Americans. They're so proud and when you've got all those things working in the same direction that's a win-win for everybody."
"I've seen the pictures of course," Don explains. "It's just not the same to see every-day people not affiliated with Wreaths Across America in any other way would take the effort to buy a fresh flag and stand outside of their home or office in the freezing drizzle and show their pride as an American as we drove through was heart-warming."
Indeed it was the joyous voices of children singing on a snowy morning in December last year at Kennebunk High School during the Annual Wreath Escort to Arlington National Cemetery that gave rise to the 2017 Wreaths Across America theme, "I'm an American."