"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.
Anyone who really knows me knows that I am often a walking Wreaths Across America billboard. They will normally see me sporting a WAA-branded sweatshirt or t-shirt, my blue and green WAA wristband and my ever-present WAA baseball cap. I’m proud of my connection with WAA and love to promote what we do and why we do it.
That being said, I want to relate a recent encounter I had while standing in line at our local Social Security Administration (SSA) Office the other day.
Air Force Veteran*, Wayne Merritt, currently manages the Veterans Transportation Program based out of Wreaths Across America Headquarters in Maine. Monday thru Friday, Wayne travels to area towns in the Downeast region to pick up veterans and bring them to their doctors’ appointments. This is just one of the many free programs Wreaths Across America offers to veterans and their families.
Military children worry about their parent’s safety very day. These children face many challenges, frequent moves and lengthy separation due to trainings and deployments. They take on more responsibilities and worry about their parent every day.
"I really don't see it stopping, and we want people to tell us where they see it. Take pictures and videos when you check it out and share them with us on social media."
Debbie says she and the transportation team are excited about new and more efficient systems that will be in place for 2018 and beyond.
To come up with an accurate wreath count for sponsorships, great effort was taken to assure no one was forgotten.
As we approached, Morrill and I began to realize that here laid the body of a very important veteran that we had apparently overlooked for the past 26 years in our annual wreath placement.
The many stops along the way at schools, veterans organizations, police and fire stations were also overflowing with love and good wishes.
I want my daughter to grow up understanding what true heroes are and the sacrifices that have been made for us to live in a free country.
Complete strangers just moments before, together, Denny and Ella read the name on her grandfather's headstone and talked some about him while laying his wreath.
"When she explained to us what Wreaths Across America is and does, it was a no-brainer for me that we would get involved."
On behalf of her father Rod, Cindi shared her grandfather's words with the audience during the memorial service. You can hear her presentation and see other highlights from the service in this video.
These two quiet and humble individuals are a team dedicated to giving back to their nation. They educate others by sharing their experiences and lessons of love and sacrifice not just from the war but the other "battlefields of life."
To better serve our volunteers in 2018 and beyond, we're reorganizing and providing more tools to support their inspiring efforts.