Wreaths Across America returns to Arlington National Cemetery
WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - More than two million volunteers from across the country took part in a 30-year holiday tradition Saturday morning: laying wreaths in honor of fallen service members.
During the Wreaths Across America event, volunteers at Arlington National Cemetery unloaded 250,000 wreaths off nearly 70 tractor-trailers. The trucks arrived following an annual week-long convoy from Maine to Virginia.
Gold Star wife and president emeritus Nancy Menagh, whose husband is buried in Arlington, took part in the convoy.
“I love coming here,” said Menagh. “I come all the way from Oregon to visit him.”
As she puts it, her husband’s dreams were cut short in 1984, while she was pregnant with her fifth child.
Captain Philip Menagh was shot and killed while serving in the National Guard.
Nancy says she became involved with Wreaths Across America, after noticing, one year, someone had placed a wreath upon her husband’s grave.
“There was snow; there was the wreath. I was just overwhelmed that someone would take the time to remember him,” she said. “It just meant the world to me.”
This holiday season, there will be an empty seat in many homes for one who is serving or one who made the ultimate sacrifice.
Wreaths Across America Executive Director Karen Worcester says her family started laying wreaths as a quiet, personal tribute to veterans in 1992.
In 2006, Worcester says a photo of their endeavors went viral, paving the way for the creation of the organization.
“We never set out to do this, or imagined it,” said Worcester. “But, what a great tribute to the American people that they care that much about the men and women that served and keep us free.”
This year 3,100 locations across the country and overseas are taking part in wreath-laying events.
The wreaths at Arlington National Cemetery will stay in place until Jan. 22 when organizers will host their annual “Wreaths Out” ceremony.
The public is welcome to attend.
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