Last Sunday we went to Arlington National Cemetery to see the Christmas wreaths that had been laid against all the stones. I first saw them last month when I needed to drive to the Fort Myer medical clinic. I didn't realize the cemetery bordered the post. We need to drive slowly on post anyway, and thankfully there were no cars behind me. Over the stone walls, and through each of the iron gates, I saw row after row of white markers with lush green wreaths and red bows. My heart was gripped. The wreaths are laid out each year at all the military cemeteries across America through an organization called Wreaths Across America.
Our first visit was to the grave of my mom's cousin, bombadier PFC Byron K. Chatham, Jr, who was shot down in the Pacific and buried with his buddies. I shared some of his story when I visited his grave last Memorial Day.
Every grave has a story, lost to time.
Yet we know part of their story.
They are heroes.
They helped to keep our country free.
We must never forget...
Wreaths Across America began years ago when a little boy visited Arlington National Cemetery for the first time.
He never forgot...
In 1992 his Christmas wreath business had extra wreaths. Reflecting upon his first visit to Arlington National Cemetery, Morill Worcester arranged for the extra wreaths to adorn the older graves of the cemetery which no longer received many visitors. (The older section dates back to the Civil War.)
Over the years this gesture has grown to include other organizations to ensure that every military grave across America receives a Christmas wreath. Some private citizens help to pay for wreaths while others lay them gently against each grave. The links in this post will take you to information for more history, a touching video and how you too can help.