"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.
"When it comes to Wreaths Across America, we don't do what we do for the applause of men; we do it because of how important it is to the Gold Star families we've connected with over the years."
"We knew at the time it was inevitable he'd be deployed," Scott explains. "He was just a few days shy of being promoted to Sergeant when his Humvee hit an IED (improvised explosive device) in Iraq."
"I remember being in the cemetery years ago and seeing one section, it was the World War I section, near Fort Myer that was all covered in wreaths, and I was wondering who the heck put them there," Jari explains. "I know what struck me about it. It was an old section that no family members would be coming to visit."
"They have to learn and understand the history to know of all the people who have given their lives to make this country what it is today. We're honored and proud to be part of Wreaths Across America and we look forward to being part of the future."
Like any military maneuver, music performance requires individual excellence in a synchronized effort that requires discipline to achieve the desired goal.
They know they have come to serve those who served us by placing a remembrance wreath on their headstone while saying their name. Like Al, every volunteer we speak with says they come away from the day knowing they have contributed to something so much bigger than themselves.
"The statue now serves as inspiration for young people to say yes, the military is something that we should support because they come to rescue life. They don't always come to conquer the land and certainly not American soldiers. We don't go anywhere to conquer lands we go to help liberate people."
"As the saying goes we all gave some, but some gave all, and that resonates with me all the time," explains Vince. "This is our way of giving back and paying tribute to the fallen because those people are the heroes."
"We seem to be at a time in history when Americans are having a hard time agreeing on anything. We’re divided in so many ways. But at the heart of it, most of us can agree on one thing: We are Americans."
"It was really hard because I couldn't hug her. As soon as she put her hand on the wreath, I started to cry, and I could tell she was starting to tear up."
In her keynote address, Karen Worcester thanked the UMA for the honor and shared a personal story of why Wreaths Across America does what it does. In a heartfelt and often tearful delivery, Karen told the story of Edith Knowles, a Gold Star Sister who lost her brother, Bud, during World War II.
I knew I had the contacts in the trucking industry," Barry explains of his initial involvement with the organization. "I just had to get people to believe in Wreaths Across America they way I did."
"She truly gets the Wreaths Across America mission to remember, honor and teach and how important it is to our families but most importantly the families of those who have served."
"When you see thousands of volunteers flood through the gates to lay wreaths, it does help restore your faith in America and that our country has not lost its core value of appreciating the sacrifice of our soldiers and veterans and saluting them while teaching the next generation how important it is to remember."