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Honoring Our Military This Holiday Season

Wreaths Across America: Sponsoring + Laying Wreaths on Graves

Despite the often-frenetic pace of the holiday season, many families and individuals make it a priority to give back. The Wreaths Across America program offers the perfect way for families and friends to honor our country’s fallen heroes by sponsoring a wreath and/or volunteering to help lay wreaths on graves at Pikes Peak National Cemetery and other locations on December 16.

It would be hard to overstate the importance of the military in Colorado Springs. What began as basic installations in World War II are now some of the nation’s most important bases and facilities. More than a third of our local population is military families or veterans, including nearly 45,000 active-duty troops, several thousand reservists, more than 100,000 veterans — and 4,200 veterans’ graves at Pikes Peak National Cemetery (PPNC).

Surplus Wreaths; Big Impact

The origin of National Wreaths Across America goes back to 1992 when the Worcester family of Harrington, Maine, had a surplus of wreaths at their tree farm during the holiday season. Family patriarch, Morrill – who had been profoundly affected by a visit to Arlington National Cemetery as a young boy – helped arrange to have those spare wreaths placed at Arlington graves that received fewer visitors.

Several individuals and organizations got wind of the Worcesters’ intent, including a trucking company and veterans from the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars posts, and volunteered transportation and labor to lay the wreaths. This remained a small, annual tradition for nearly 15 years until a photo taken at the 2005 ceremony went viral. Almost immediately, thousands of people wanted to know how to help or how they could begin a similar tradition in their states.

Serve and Succeed

National Wreaths Across America Day has a simple mission: Remember fallen U.S. veterans, honor those who serve and teach your children the value of freedom. This year’s theme is “Serve and Succeed.” More than two million volunteers nationwide will be placing wreaths at veterans’ headstones at more than 3,700 locations in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and throughout the world. Wreaths can be donated for $17.

National Wreaths Across America Day Local Events

Saturday, December 16; 9 a.m. (ceremony); wreath-laying starts at 10 a.m.

Facebook: @WAAHQ
Instagram: @wreathsacross

**Purchase wreaths from the above site, or from Evergreen Cemetery Benevolent Society, where $5 from each wreath will go toward restoring the Evergreen Chapel. The goal is to complete the project by 2026 in honor of the 150th anniversary of Colorado statehood and the 250th anniversary of the United States.