The History of Wreaths Across America
Wreaths Across America is a non-profit organization that coordinates wreath-laying ceremonies at cemeteries across the United States. The program began in 1992, when the Worcester Wreath Company of Harrington, Maine, had a surplus of wreaths nearing the end of the holiday season. Company owner Morrill Worcester decided to honor veterans by placing the wreaths on graves at Arlington National Cemetery. The tradition continued each year, eventually gaining national attention and growing into the Wreaths Across America program we know today.
In 2007, the non-profit organization was formed to expand the program beyond Arlington National Cemetery. Now, Wreaths Across America coordinates wreath-laying ceremonies at more than 2,500 cemeteries across the country, including many in Wisconsin.
The Impact of Wreaths Across America
Wreaths Across America is more than just a one-day event. The organization’s mission is to “Remember, Honor, and Teach” by coordinating wreath-laying ceremonies, educating communities about the sacrifices of our veterans, and preserving the memory of those who have served our country.
For veterans in Wisconsin, the impact of the program can be seen at cemeteries throughout the state. In 2019, more than 25,000 wreaths were laid at Wisconsin cemeteries through Wreaths Across America. This includes sites like Forest Hill Cemetery in Madison, Wood National Cemetery in Milwaukee, and Central Wisconsin Veterans Memorial Cemetery in King.
Beyond the wreath-laying ceremonies themselves, Wreaths Across America has a lasting impact on communities and families who have lost loved ones. The program provides a way for individuals to come together to honor and remember those who have served our country.
How to Get Involved
National Wreaths Across America Day
December 16, 2023
On National Wreaths Across America Day, you can participate in wreath-laying ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery and at more than 3,400 additional locations in all 50 U.S. states, at sea, and abroad.
If you’re a veteran in Wisconsin, there are several ways to get involved with Wreaths Across America. You can participate in a wreath-laying ceremony at a local cemetery, or even volunteer to help coordinate a ceremony in your community. You can also donate to the organization to help fund the purchase of wreaths.
In Wisconsin, December events are held at the following cemeteries:
- Central Wisconsin Veterans Cemetery (WICVMK)
- Southern Wisconsin Veterans Memorial Cemetery (WISVMU)
- Northern Wisconsin Veterans Memorial (WINVCS)
- Tony Wisconsin Cemetery (WITWCT)
- Hillside Cemetery Ripon, Wisconsin (WIHSCR)
- Wisconsin Veterans Home at King
To find a Wreaths Across America event near you, visit the organization’s website and use the “Find a Location” tool. You can also learn more about the organization’s mission and history, as well as ways to get involved beyond the annual wreath-laying ceremonies.
Wreaths Across America is a powerful way to honor and remember the sacrifices of our veterans, both in Wisconsin and across the country. By participating in a wreath-laying ceremony or donating to the organization, you can help ensure that the memory of those who have served our country lives on.
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