Wreaths Across America

By Cindy on December 28, 2009

cropped GNC WAAUnless you have lost someone who served in the Armed Services, you most likely don’t think about Veteran’s Day or Memorial Day except as a possible day off. When Daddy passed away last year, he was laid to rest at Georgia National Cemetery outside of Atlanta, Georgia. He had a funeral that included full military honors. Taps, a 21 gun salute and the folding of the American flag.

Something that I was unprepared for was the wave of emotion that engulfs me each time I visit his final resting place. On special days–Father’s Day, Veteran’s Day and Memorial Day–almost all the graves have beautiful flowers near the granite headstones. What has touched me most is what happens each December.

Each and every December, a company in the northern part of the United States sends wreaths out to all of the National Cemeteries around the country. These wreaths are accepted by willing volunteers who consider it an honor to spend their Saturday in the chill of the morning to gently, respectfully and lovingly lay each wreath at the grave of a brave service man or woman.

If you don’t know about this program, it is called Wreaths Across America.

On December 12, 2009, my mom, one of my sisters and I got up really early and traveled to Georgia National Cemetery.  Precisely at 10:00 am, there was a prayer and then we laid a wreath on Daddy’s final resting place.  After lingering at the granite marker, I quietly and respectfully gathered several wreaths and laid each one at the grave of a service man or woman also resting in Georgia National Cemetery.

Each time I laid a wreath, I studied the name on the headstone.  I said the name aloud and then thanked that person for their service to our country.  After a few moments of silence, I touched the granite marker and said, “Rest well.  You are not forgotten at this special time of year.”

And in just a few moments, all wreaths had been laid.  A sea of greenery and red bows adorn all of the resting places in the entire cemetery.

A lone bugler began playing Taps.  A second bugler answered the first.

Icy cold winds swept across the mountain top.  The hundreds of volunteers never seemed to notice the temperature.

We were all there to remember our fallen; our fathers and mothers; our sons and daughters at Christmas.

Wreaths Across America relies on donations from individuals and businesses.  If you want to see a perfectly awesome site and remember how it feels to be patriotic, find a national cemetery near you next December and behold the site.  It is one you will not likely forget any time soon.

One response to “Wreaths Across America”

  1. Tod Hofmann says:

    Have a great Memorial Day weekend, but remember the reason: the veterans who made the sacrifice for us.

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