Each year, National Wreaths Across America Day brings together millions of Americans to remember the fallen, honor those who serve and their families, and teach the next generation about the value of freedom.
This gathering of volunteers and patriots takes place in local and national cemeteries in all 50 states and most recently at more than 2,500 participating locations. Each year, a new theme is chosen to help volunteers and supporters focus their messaging and outreach in their own communities, and the theme for 2021 is Live Up to Their Legacy.
The inspiration for this year’s theme came from a statement made by U.S. Army Chief of Staff Gen. James C. McConville speaking on behalf of the U.S. Army and the upcoming opening of the National Museum of the United States Army. During the interview, he said, “We stand on the shoulders of heroes that have gone before us, and really what we strive to do is live up to their legacy.”
Wreaths Across America Executive Director Karen Worcester and many others heard his message, which resonated deeply.
“Listening to this man, who is a hero in his own right, speak about what and who motivates him is inspiring,” said Worcester. “It is the men and women who serve, everyday people, giving of themselves for their country and communities. I urge everyone to look to the people and the families that have made these sacrifices to keep this country free, and live up to their legacy.”
In 2020, approximately 1.7 million veterans’ wreaths were placed by volunteers on headstones at 2,557 participating locations around the country in honor of the service and sacrifices made for Americans’ freedoms, with each name spoken out loud. Wreaths Across America volunteers work year-round to ensure military members laid to rest are remembered, their families and living veterans are honored, and the next generation is taught about the value of freedom.
This year, National Wreaths Across America Day is Saturday, Dec. 18. It is always a free event and open to all people, conditions permitting. For more information on how to volunteer locally or sponsor a wreath for a hero, go to wreathsacrossamerica.org.