Wreaths Across America

  • Arlington National Cemetery Tours conduct tours of the cemetery 363 out of 365 days a year. We run on all major holidays including Christmas, Thanksgiving, New Year, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and Veteran’s Day. The two days of the year that we do not operate are wreaths-in and wreaths-out.

    Wreaths Across America is a nonprofit that lays wreaths at graves of fallen service members at national cemeteries. The organization grew out of a much smaller project with roots at Arlington National Cemetery. Every second or third Saturday in December is wreaths-in and one of the last Saturdays in January is wreaths-out.

    It all starts with Morrill Worcester, owner of Worcester Wreath Company of Harrington in Maine, who won a trip to Washington D.C. when he was 12 years old. While in Washington, he visited Arlington National Cemetery. In 1992, Worcester’s company had a surplus of wreaths. Remembering his trip to Arlington, Worcester made arrangements to have the extra wreaths laid at headstones in an older section of the cemetery. This tradition went on for over ten years. In 2005 a photo of the wreaths covered in snow circulated the internet thrusting the project into the national spotlight.

    People all over the United States wanted to do something similar at national cemeteries in their hometowns and states. Unable to send thousands of wreaths to each state, Worcester decided to send seven to each state, one for each branch of the military, one for POWs and one for MIAs. In 2007 Wreaths Across America was established as a non-profit. The organization slowly expanded. By 2008, Wreaths Across America facilitated wreath laying ceremonies in over 300 locations and over 100,000 wreaths were placed on service members graves.

    In 2014, volunteers laid 700,000 wreaths at over 1,000 different locations. This year approximately 60 trucks are expected to bring a total of about 150,000 wreaths to Arlington. Anywhere from 30,000- 50,000 volunteers will be ready on the morning of December 17th to lay the wreaths. Click here to learn more about how to participate in Wreaths Across America. And take a tour with us between December 17th and January 28th to see the wreaths.

     

    Amanda Varnam
    Arlington National Cemetery
    Narrator, driver, trainer and dispatcher.

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