‘Tis the season to remember

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Ethan Sherwood
  • 17th Training Wing Public Affairs

Every year in December, thousands of wreaths are laid on the graves of service members across the world. This has become a common sight for most, but why do we do it?

The origins of Wreaths Across America can be traced back to the early 1990s, when Morrill Worcester's wreath company had a surplus of wreaths at the end of the holiday season. Rather than dispose of the excess wreaths, Worcester decided to donate them to Arlington National Cemetery, where they were placed on the graves of fallen soldiers.

This simple act of kindness quickly gained popularity, and in 1992, Worcester founded Wreaths Across America to coordinate the placement of wreaths at Arlington and other veterans cemeteries around the country. Over the years, the organization has grown considerably, with thousands of volunteers participating in wreath-laying ceremonies at more than 2,100 cemeteries in all 50 states, as well as overseas.

One of the key events in the history of Wreaths Across America is the annual "Wreaths Across America Day," which takes place on the second or third Saturday of December. On this day, volunteers gather at cemeteries across the country to lay wreaths on the graves of veterans. In addition to honoring the sacrifices of America's veterans, the event serves as a reminder of the importance of remembering those who have served our country.

In San Angelo, this event is hosted by the Civil Air Patrol San Angelo Composite Squadron, where Goodfellow’s leaders and service members honor prisoners of war, those missing in action, veterans, and active duty personnel.

Leaders and representatives of Goodfellow present ceremonial wreaths representing the Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force, Space Force, Coast Guard, Merchant Marines, and POW/MIA. While attendees lay over 350 wreaths at the Belvedere Memorial Park Cemetery each year. They ensure that the heroes who honorably and selflessly served will never be forgotten.

The origins of Wreaths Across America can be traced back to a simple act of kindness by one person, which has since grown into a nationwide movement to honor and remember the sacrifices of America's veterans. Through its wreath-laying ceremonies and educational initiatives, Wreaths Across America continues to serve as a poignant reminder of the importance of remembering and honoring those who have served our country.