Paying Tribute to the Military at Wreaths Across America
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By Chanda Chann
AMU Graduate and University Ambassador
At Arlington National Cemetery on December 15, the sun was barely up and the rain seemed like it would never stop. Most people would prefer to stay indoors on such a cold, uncomfortable Saturday.
National Wreaths Across America Day, held on the third Saturday of every December, is a special event that “strives to remember our fallen heroes, honor those who serve and teach our children about the sacrifices made by veterans and their families to preserve our freedoms.” That’s why Wreaths Across America is special to my husband and me. We typically drive for four and a half hours to lay wreaths at Arlington.
Why We Participate in Wreaths Across America
We are a Navy family. We have friends who have served and some who are still serving in all branches of the military. Wreaths Across America is our way of honoring them for their military service.
I am proud to be an American Military University student ambassador and to share my experience with other volunteers I meet at this event. It is a humbling experience to see volunteers come together for this special event. Despite the cold and rain at Arlington National Cemetery that day, thousands of people — young and old, military or civilian — showed up to help place wreaths next to grave headstones.
Wreaths Across America Also Took Place at Cemeteries Nationwide
Even more heartwarming was seeing the overflowing spirit of the volunteers from every corner of the country and the multitude of Honor Fleets. The Honor Fleets are comprised of truck drivers who transport thousands of boxes of wreaths to the nation’s national cemeteries.
University staff and ambassadors coordinated with Arlington National Cemetery officials to find volunteers and wreath sponsors. Volunteers unload the boxes of wreaths, distribute them on the graves and clean up the debris afterward.
How to Participate in This Important Holiday Tradition Next Year
No matter the weather, Wreaths Across America is always an expression of gratitude and appreciation for our fallen heroes.
For that reason, this annual rite has become a holiday tradition for my family. We have been participating at local national cemeteries for six years, wherever my husband’s duty station takes us. We plan to continue taking part in this inspiring event and urging others to join us.
If you and your family didn’t get a chance to participate this year, I encourage you to join volunteers across the country and around the world for next December’s event. For more information, visit the Wreaths Across America website.
About the Author
Chanda Chann is a military spouse and a commercial real estate professional, skilled in property management, leasing and client relations. Chanda has a Bachelor of Arts in Management in Human Resource Management and a Master of Business Administration in Marketing from American Military University. Chanda aspires to make an impact in corporate management and establish strategic relationships.