I spent a memorable morning yesterday participating in the annual Wreaths Across America event at Arlington National Cemetery with members of my DAR chapter. This was the first time I’d gone and I was amazed at how many people came. (There were about 75,000 people there, by one estimation!)
We arrived at 8:30, plenty of time to wander around a bit and appreciate the solemn beauty of this special place.
About 9:00, the semis carrying the wreaths down to Virginia from Maine began to arrive. (I lost count of how many pulled into the cemetery!)
For some of the trucks, this is obviously very personal and a way to commemorate loved ones lost.
The opening ceremony at the McLellan Arch is brief. A color guard brings in the national colors and the flags of all the branches of service, with battle ribbons, for the national anthem.
After a nondenominational prayer, a hymn sung by Trace Adkins, and brief but heartfelt comments by the guest marshall, we all made our way to the various locations in the cemetery where wreaths were being distributed.
And then everyone began laying wreaths, from young children to older volunteers.
My group went to Section 1, one of the older parts of the cemetery. This is also the location of the Lockerbie cairn, commemorating those who perished in the terrorist bombing of Pan Am 103. (One of the Daughters in my DAR chapter flew to London to assist in getting personal belongings back to the families, so this was special for her.)
And then, almost before we knew it, the headstones were all adorned with wreaths. It was beautiful.
A very special day, one with much meaning for all who were there. The evergreen wreaths symbolize life, love, and remembrance. For the volunteers, it was a way to honor and respect those who have served, especially those who lost their lives in that service.
It was an honor to be there. I’ll be back next year.