Wreaths Across America, a charity that remembers America’s fallen soldiers, is asking for donations and volunteers ahead of Christmas.
“The mission is to remember our fallen, honor those who have served and are serving and their families, and teach the next generation the value of freedom,” said Ellen Fuller, a volunteer coordinator for Wreaths Across America (WAA).
WAA honors veterans through ceremonies in which they lay wreaths on the tombstones of fallen soldiers. Fuller said the wreaths honor the fallen and show living veterans that their service will not be forgotten when they pass on.
“There is a tag on all our wreaths that say, ‘Today I placed a wreath on the grave of an American hero. Go home, look that person up on the internet,’” said Fuller.
This year, however, WAA is receiving fewer-than-expected donations nationwide and in North Texas.
“I think part of it is the economy, choices with discretionary dollars,” Fuller said. “Fifteen dollars may not seem like a lot, but it may be for some folks.”
In North Texas, 29,000 wreaths have been sponsored, but 21,000 more sponsorships are still needed.
Fuller said even people who cannot donate could attend one of the nonprofit’s ceremonies on Saturday, December 17. She added that attending is free, and volunteers are always needed to help place wreaths on the gravestones.
“Come to one of our ceremonies,” Fuller said. “It will make your Christmas — attitude of gratitude.”
WAA holds ceremonies at 3,100 locations across the nation with more than 2.4 million wreaths. Yet, the organization began with 5,000 wreaths donated to Arlington National Cemetery by founder Morrill Worcester in 1992.
“As a 12-year-old boy, he had gone to Arlington National Cemetery and thought how beautiful the white graves would look with green wreaths and red bows,” Fuller said, adding that she became involved with WAA to honor her parents.
She said that her father served in the Navy during the Korean and Vietnam wars, while her mom took care of five children on the home front. “My parents are buried at Arlington, that is my ‘why.’ I know what a difference it makes to surviving families.”
Donations for wreaths to be placed at DFW National Cemetery can be made here.