Chattanooga, TN (WDEF) – Wreaths Across America, an annual holiday ceremony, was held at national cemeteries across the country Saturday to honor fallen veterans.
Chilly weather and mud didn’t stop the patriotic from honoring fallen veterans in a holiday wreath-laying ceremony at the Chattanooga National Cemetery.
Honoring their loved ones laid to rest, one said, “I am placing a wreath on my father’s grave. He was a World War II Marine, the son of my World War I Marine grandfather. And I did go ahead and buy a wreath where I can place them on his and my mother’s graves.”
Wreaths Across America, with the help of the Civil Air Patrol and other civic organizations, began this outreach in 2006. It has now grown to 1,400 locations. Chattanooga’s National Cemetery has 43,000 headstones and just shy of 10,000 wreaths were donated to be laid.
That number is growing every year.
“The crowds are wonderful. The money that we’ve raised for the wreaths is over three times what we raised last year, and as you saw by the crowd, there was an enormous crowd here today,” says one organizer.
Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, firefighters, and many other local groups walked together to lay the wreaths on the headstones.
“What you saw here today was hundreds and hundreds of volunteers who support what were doing here to honor our veterans and we’re so grateful for the community.”
Wreaths Across America was founded by the Worcester Wreath Company. They began donating their surplus wreaths to Arlington National Cemetery in 1992 before the movement grew nationwide to what it is today.