Wreaths Across America: A Mission of the Heart

By Carole Grosch, Reporter

“In the aftermath, we are because they were.” -RJ Heller, Holding Grace: Prose and Poetry

Very gently, the little girl places the evergreen wreath with the deep red bow on the tombstone. She touches the fresh greenery a final time, and then steps back.

Last year, Wreaths Across America volunteers placed over 700,000 memorial wreaths at over 1,000 locations.  Honoring veterans and their families, the wreath laying ceremonies take place at Arlington National Cemetery, as well as veterans’ cemeteries and other locations in all 50 states, ceremonies at sea, and the 24 national cemeteries on foreign soil. The goal of covering Arlington National Cemetery was accomplished in 2014 with the placement of 226,525 wreaths.

The tradition of remembering and honoring fallen heroes continues this month-one wreath at a time.

On Saturday, December 12, 2015, at 8 a.m., Veterans of Foreign Wars Clovis Post 3225 is again participating in Wreathes Across America. Volunteers organize local ceremonies, raise funds to sponsor wreaths and participate in the events to remember those who gave so much for our freedom.

A little background history: In 1992, Worcester Wreath Company of Harrington, Maine, began a tradition of donating wreaths to honor veterans, first at an older section of Arlington National Cemetery, then as other organizations and individuals became involved, the tradition spread.

In 2005, the program gained a much wider audience when a picture of wreath covered headstones at Arlington, in snow, appeared on the internet. People wanted to start the tradition in their own communities and Wreaths Across America formed as a non-profit 501-(c) (3) organization in 2007.

The mission of the group is simple: Remember. Honor. Teach. There is no government funding. Program costs are paid by individual wreaths sponsors, corporate donors and volunteer truckers, who transport the wreaths to their destinations.

Other ways members of the community can participate:

  1. Volunteer to have a location in your state participate in the National Remembrance Ceremony, or start or work with a local group to raise funds for the wreaths at a local ceremony, or for Arlington.
  1. Escort of Wreaths to Arlington (or any of the other locations featuring wreath escorts)
  2. State House Ceremony – in nearly all 50 states and at our Nation’s Capital
  3. ‘Thanks-A-Million’ handout card program to thank our veterans and active military
  1.  Education Program – work with Wreaths Across America materials in local schools

The cost is $15 to place a wreath on the resting place of a fallen hero at any of the three cemeteries within the Clovis Cemetery District– Red Bank, Academy and Clovis. Sponsorship forms are available now at https://vfw3225.com. This is the first year all three locations are included, so be sure to indicate which cemetery is being supported. Once the form is filled out, it can be returned to VFW Post 3225, PO Box 1852, Clovis, CA 93613.

“This event is also a fundraiser for Veterans of Foreign Wars, Post 3225 in Clovis, CA,” says August C. Flach III, Post Commander. “Our legacy is ‘Veterans Helping Veterans.’ One way we assist veterans and their families is to ‘Honor our Veterans by Remembering the Fallen.’ With your support, we can insure each fallen veteran will have a beautiful wreath at their final resting place and will allow our Post to continue its work helping needy Veterans in our community.”

 

Donations of any amount will be accepted. For questions about the wreath program, please contact Linda Branam at 559-916-2259 or visit http://www.wreathsacrossamerica.org.