Every year on the day before the greatly anticipated Army-Navy football game, there’s a patriotic tradition on the Yard. Midshipmen, faculty, staff and local community members gather together at the United States Naval Academy Cemetery for the annual “Wreaths Across America” event, which has three important missions: to remember our fallen U.S. veterans, honor those who serve and to teach our children the value of freedom. These are missions that the U.S. Naval Academy does not take lightly. This Friday, December 9th at 9:00 a.m., they will lay Remembrance wreaths on the graves of our country's fallen heroes and say the name of each and every veteran out loud.
We Will Never Forget
The non-profit Wreaths Across America organization explains the history behind this sacred act, “We understand we have Veterans Day in the fall and Memorial Day in the spring, but our service members sacrifice their time and safety every single day of the year to preserve our freedoms. In many homes, there is an empty seat for one who is serving or one who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. There is no better time to express our appreciation than during the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. We hope you will join us at any of our more than 3,400 participating locations to show our veterans and their families that we will not forget. We will never forget.”
Many of the participating locations across the country lay their cemetery wreaths on “National Wreaths Across America Day,” which takes place on Saturday, December 17th as a concerted effort to draw attention to honoring these veterans. Incredibly moving ceremonies occur simultaneously at Arlington National Cemetery and at more than 3,400 locations across all 50 states, at sea and abroad. You can find locations here, and if there isn’t one in your area, Wreaths Across America will support you in becoming a Location Coordinator for a local cemetery. Hosting a ceremony is free.
Teaching the Value of Freedom
One of the most important things the organization does is to teach our children the value of freedom. To that end, they work with thousands of school, civic, scout and religious groups across the U.S. to facilitate fundraising for cemetery wreath sponsorships, and to meet their goal to place a wreath on each hero’s grave. As part of the program, these groups also receive a portion of the fundraising money for their own objectives.
More Than Just the Day
The December date is the largest coordination for the group, but they also achieve their mission all year long through the Remembrance Tree program and the Wreaths Across America Museum at their headquarters in Columbia Falls, Maine. Do you want to be a part of Wreaths Across America? There are a number of ways you can get involved. You can sponsor a veteran’s wreath that can be laid at a cemetery near you, you can also volunteer to be part of the event, or you can donate to a local sponsorship group.
Remember, Honor and Teach
Wreaths Across America is devoted to remembering, honoring and teaching about the veterans who have served our country from its start. The organization says, “From the Revolutionary War to present day conflicts, our veterans are devoted sons and daughters, fathers and mothers, sisters and brothers. They come from all backgrounds in life to place those lives on the line for our freedoms.” You can find more than 4,760 recent posts telling these stories on the Remember Wall.
Lay A Wreath
This year’s Wreaths Across America has achieved and surpassed their goals for their Naval Academy event on December 9th.
We are forever grateful to those who serve. Every year on the day before the Army-Navy game, we gather to remember, honor and teach by laying cemetery wreaths at the graves of veterans and taking part in these important ceremonies. We encourage you to join us. Come visit the Yard and support the midshipmen. When you tour, dine in our restaurants, shop in our shops and spend time on the Yard, you’re helping the Brigade. Our profits from the Yard support them 100 percent. On “Wreaths Across America Day” at the Yard and always, we remember, honor and teach about the sacrifices our veterans have made for our freedom. Thank you all for your service!