WASHINGTON (Gray DC) — More than two million volunteers across the country took part Saturday morning in a 30-year-old holiday tradition: laying wreaths in honor of fallen service members.
During the Wreaths Across America event, volunteers from Arlington National Cemetery unloaded 250,000 wreaths from nearly 70 tractor-trailers. The trucks arrived after an annual week-long convoy from Maine to Virginia.
The Gold Star’s wife and President Emeritus Nancy Menagh, whose husband is buried in Arlington, took part in the motorcade.
“I love coming here,” Menagh said. “I come from Oregon to visit him.”
As she says, her husband’s dreams were cut short in 1984, when she was pregnant with her fifth child.
Captain Philip Menagh was shot and killed while serving in the National Guard.
Nancy says she got involved with Wreaths Across America after noticing, one year ago, that someone had placed a wreath on her husband’s grave.
” There was snow ; there was the crown. I was just upset that someone took the time to remember him,” she said. “It just meant the world to me.”
This holiday season, there will be an empty seat in many homes for the one who serves or the one who has made the ultimate sacrifice.
Wreaths Across America executive director Karen Worcester said her family began laying wreaths as a quiet, personal tribute to veterans in 1992.
In 2006, Worcester says a photo of their efforts went viral, paving the way for the organization to be formed.
“We never intended to do this, or imagined it,” Worcester said. “But what a beautiful tribute to the American people who care so much about the men and women who have served us and keep us free.”
This year, 3,100 locations across the country and abroad are participating in wreath laying events.
The wreaths at Arlington National Cemetery will remain in place until Jan. 22, when organizers will hold their annual “Wreaths Out” ceremony.
The public is invited to attend.
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