To Remember, to Honor: Mission Accomplished

Arlington

The mission of Wreaths Across America is simple yet noble: “To Remember, Honor, & Teach about the service and sacrifices of our veterans, active military, and their families. We will Never Forget.”

And that they did, on Dec. 14, when Wreaths Across America volunteers placed thousands of beautiful wreaths (Maine balsam with a hand-tied red bow ) on as many as possible of our fallen heroes’ graves — thanks to your and thousands of Americans’ caring and generosity.

At Arlington National Cemetery alone, volunteers placed more than 143,000 wreaths on gravesites.

These are the words of one of the visitors to the Arlington event: “I said, ‘Let’s come down early and actually volunteer and put some wreaths on. What really impressed me was how many served in multiple wars.” After reading the inscriptions on some of the headstones, he continued, “You see individuals that served in three and four wars. It’s really incredible, the dedication and commitment that they showed for our country. It’s a profound sense of gratitude, to see how fortunate we are to live the life that we live, in part because of what these people have sacrificed.”

These are some of the images:

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Trucks carrying wreaths arrive at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va., Dec. 14, 2013. Thousands of volunteers helped place over 143,000 wreaths at the graves of fallen service members as part of the annual Wreaths Across America event. DOD photo by Sebastian Sciotti Jr.

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Volunteers wait in line to receive wreaths to be placed in their designated areas during Wreaths Across America at Arlington National Cemetery. DOD photo by Sebastian Sciotti Jr.

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Service members and volunteers hand out wreaths to be placed at grave markers during the Wreaths Across America event at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va.

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Marine Corps Maj. Daniel Smith and daughter, Kara Anne, lay a wreath at a gravesite at Arlington National Cemetery, Dec. 14, 2013, as part of the 22nd annual “Wreaths Across America” event. U.S. Army photo by C. Todd Lopez

tomb's wreath

Service members, veterans and volunteers render honors as a member of the U.S. Army Honor Guard, 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, places a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery, in Arlington, Va., Dec. 14, 2013.Photo DOD.

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A wreath lays at the grave of the late President John. F. Kennedy, placed there by volunteers during the Wreaths Across America event at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va., Dec. 14, 2013. DOD photo by Sebastian Sciotti Jr.

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Master-at-Arms 2nd Class Lisa Square, assigned to Naval Base Kitsap, attaches a U.S. Navy flag to one of seven wreaths displayed in front of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Ivy Green Cemetery during a Wreaths Across America Day ceremony. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman William Blees

Lead image: A section of Arlington National Cemetery, Va., shows a fraction of the 143,000 wreaths placed at the graves of fallen service members during Wreaths Across America, Dec. 14, 2013. DOD photo by Sebastian Sciotti Jr.

Author: DORIAN DE WIND, Military Affairs Columnist