The national nonprofit has partnered with hundreds of like-minded charities, community programs and civic groups throughout the country to remember and honor our nation’s veterans and active duty military all year long year.
Annual Wreaths Across America ceremonies honoring veterans will not take place until December. But local groups are already working to expand the program this year at Mountain Home National Cemetery, and, for the first time, place a wreath at every veteran’s grave. Last year, we placed over 7,200 wreaths. But there are almost 17,000 veterans buried at Mountain Home.
“Too often we recognize deployed servicemen and women only as the holidays approach and their absence from home during the holiday season is felt most strongly,” said WAA Executive Director Karen Worcester. “Through Giving in July we hope to remind people that veterans and our current military serve and protect us 365 days a year.”
This year, more than 1,600 cemeteries will participate in National Wreaths Across America Day - Saturday, Dec. 14, 2019 - and more than 2,000 fundraising groups will work in their communities to raises funds and awareness to honor the local service members with the placement of sponsored veterans’ wreaths made of fresh Maine balsam.
The Wreaths Across America program began in 1992 at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, and has expanded to more than 1,640 locations in the United States and elsewhere in the world, according to the organization’s website (www.wreathsacrossamerica.org).
Locally, wreaths have been placed each year at graves at Mountain Home National Cemetery, as part of the Wreaths Across America program. This year’s ceremonies will take place at noon, Dec. 14. This year’s theme is “Everyone Plays a Part.” No role is too small when it comes to honoring our veterans and their families.
“Every single person, among the millions of volunteers and supporters - from those who drive or load a truck; host a bake sale; or those who come to place a wreath, and say a name out loud - everyone has a part in our mission to Remember, Honor and Teach.”
For only $15, members of the public can sponsor wreaths through several local groups. To sponsor a wreath for a specific veteran at Mountain Home, supporters must donate through one of those groups. Groups that support the annual ceremony at Mountain Home National Cemetery each have a sponsorship page off of the Wreaths Across America website. The main page, which includes the links to sponsor groups that support the Mountain Home program can be found at www.wreathsacrossamerica.org/tnmhnm. Contact information for the local groups that accept grave-specific sponsorships is on the main Mountain Home page.
While both Wreaths Across America and Mountain Home National Cemetery are unable to accept grave-specific requests directly, one of the associated fundraising groups might be willing to do so.
For information on how to provide a wreath to a specific veteran at Mountain Home, please contact one of the following individuals: Bob Rambo at (423) 276-8368, Jeanette Scalf at (423) 213-6805, or Scott Foster at (423) 741-9934. If you do make a grave-specific request, please be sure to provide all applicable details, such as section and site number, if you know them. Volunteers will do their very best to honor your wishes.
Community contributor David Carter serves as location coordinator for the ceremony at Mountain Home National Cemetery. You can contact David at (423) 349-4622 or by email at [email protected]