National Wreaths Across America Day Date in the current year: December 16, 2023

National Wreaths Across America Day National Wreaths Across America Day is observed on every second or third Saturday of December by wreath-laying ceremonies held at Arlington National Cemetery and other cemeteries across the country. It was created to remember fallen United States veterans and honor those who currently serve their country in the armed forces.

The history of National Wreaths Across America Day dates back to 1992, when Worcester Wreaths, a family-owned wreath company from Harrington, Maine, ended up with a surplus of Christmas wreaths at the end of the holiday season. Its founder recalled a childhood trip to the cemetery, teamed up with volunteers and a local trucking company, and donated 5,000 wreaths to lay on the graves.

Such donations became an annual tradition. In 2005, a photo of the snow-covered cemetery with Worcester’s wreaths at gravestone went viral on the Internet, and thousands of people reached out to Morrill Worcester because they wanted to lay wreaths at their local cemeteries to honor the memory of fallen veterans.

In 2006, Worcester Wreaths, assisted by truckers and volunteers, supplied its wreaths to more than 230 veterans’ monuments and cemeteries across the United States, and more than 150 coordinated wreath-laying ceremonies were held simultaneously at different locations.

2006 was also the year of the first Veterans Honors Parade. The Patriot Guard Riders, a group of motorcyclists formed in 2005 to protect the families of fallen soldiers from anti-war protesters, escorted the wreaths from Worcester’s family farm in Maine to Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.

In 2007, Worcester established a non-profit organization named Wreaths Across America to distribute wreaths for placing at veterans’ memorials and cemeteries across the country in an organized manner. The next year, the United States Senate passed a resolution designating December 13, 2008 as Wreaths Across America Day to honor Worcester’s Wreaths Across America project and everyone involved in the tradition of honoring the memory of military veterans with holiday wreaths.

Although the resolution did not establish Wreaths Across America Day as an annual observance, it became a tradition. All subsequent National Wreaths Across America Days have been held on the second or third Saturday of December to honor the memory of all U.S. veterans from the Revolutionary War to 21st-century conflicts.

Over the years, National Wreaths Across America Day has become a truly massive event. Every December, volunteer place more than a million wreaths at over 3,000 cemeteries and memorials in the United States and abroad, including Arlington National Cemetery where it all began, the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor, and the 9/11 Memorial in New York City.

How can you observe National Wreaths Across America Day? You can sponsor a veterans’ wreath at your local cemetery, volunteer at an event near you, or donate to a local sponsorship group. And don’t forget to spread the word about the observance on social media using the hashtags #NationalWreathsAcrossAmericaDay, #WreathsAcrossAmericaDay and #WreathsAcrossAmerica.

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Category

Anniversaries and Memorial Days

Country

USA

Tags

National Wreaths Across America Day, observances in the United States, military observances, wreath-laying ceremonies