With the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, we barely have time to pick up a secret Santa gift or prepare dozens of holiday cookies for our children’s school parties. However, to remind ourselves that the season also is a time of peace and good will toward others, it’s often customary to contribute to charitable organizations or donate our time to a worthy cause, such as Wreaths Across America.
This was the case for the more than 430 airmen, soldiers, veterans, and community members that gathered at the Fort Lewis Cemetery on Joint-Base Lewis McChord and at the Washington Soldiers Home Cemetery in Orting on Dec. 16 to place more than 2,000 wreaths beside headstones as part of National Wreaths Across America Day.
Originally established at Arlington National Cemetery in 1992, the annual event is organized by national nonprofit Wreaths Across America, which has spread over the years to include more than 1,000 locations across the nation. The Tacoma-based Mary Ball Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution began hosting the JBLM ceremony in 2016 while the Orting event has been staffed by a local committee that regularly endeavors to restore and maintain the cemetery.
The wreaths are placed not as decoration, rather, the fresh evergreens symbolize a living tribute, renewed annually, to remember the fallen and honor those who have served.
While it is too late to participate in National Wreaths Across America Day this year, the organization urges volunteers to donate their time through A Million Thanks, a nonprofit that accepts cards and letters from well-wishers and redirects them to a service member serving overseas.
Visit Wreaths Across America online for more information and upcoming volunteer opportunities.