National Wreaths Across America Day
the second Saturday in December (1992 to 2015)
the third Saturday in December (since 2016)
National Wreaths Across America Day is a day each year when wreath-laying ceremonies take place at Arlington National Cemetery, and at more than 1,200 other locations—in all fifty states and around the world. The wreath laying is done to remember all fallen US veterans, to honor those who serve, and to teach children the value of freedom. Volunteers place wreaths on veterans graves while saying their names out loud, to help keep their memories alive.
At the age of twelve, Morrill Worcester visited Washington D.C., and Arlington National Cemetery had a profound effect on him. Worcester grew up to be a wreathmaker and the owner of the Worcester Wreath Company, and in 1992 he had a surplus of about 5,000 wreaths, and had them placed on headstones in Arlington National Cemetery. Other individuals and organizations helped him over the following years, but it was not until 2005, when an image of the wreaths went viral, that what he had been doing gained national attention.
In 2006, the Civil Air Patrol and others helped facilitate the laying of wreaths at over 150 locations across the United States. The Patriot Guard Riders escorted the wreaths that were transported to Arlington. Since then, a "Veterans Honor Parade" travels the east coast each year in early December. Wreaths Across America was formed as a non-profit in 2007. Congress designated the day as Wreaths Across America Day with a resolution the following year. Today, many individuals, volunteer groups, trucking companies, and corporations, work together to lay wreaths all over the country and beyond.
How to Observe
There are many ways you can participate in National Wreaths Across America Day. You can sponsor a wreath at Arlington National Cemetery, or at your local cemetery, or with a fundraising group. You can also volunteer to place wreaths at a cemetery. If you have a local cemetery that does not participate in the day, you can sign them up and be a local coordinator. You could also lead a fundraising group. If you have a company, you can provide corporate support, and if you have a trucking company you can help transport wreaths. Finally, you could show your support by buying something from the Wreaths Across America gift shop, and by visiting the Wreaths Across America museum in Columbia Falls, Maine.