Thousands of holiday wreaths soon will be placed at the graves of American heroes across the country — including in the Quad Cities — during a nationwide “Wreaths Across America” event.
The annual local event will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 18, at the Rock Island National Cemetery on Arsenal Island. The ceremony will include the laying of ceremonial wreaths to honor each of the military services, POWs and all veterans.
There will be some 1,600 wreaths placed on the graves on Arsenal Island, according to Jamie Trentz, coordinator of the local Wreaths Across America event.
Ms. Trentz said she just learned Monday that the local event’s wreaths are on a truck headed to Arsenal Island.
“I just get goosebumps thinking about this… This is just a sweet thing people can do,” said Ms. Trentz, who is in her second year as event coordinator but has been a volunteer for the past eight years.
The local Wreaths Across America is no longer accepting volunteers for the Dec. 18 event.
It has already filled this year’s volunteer slots to help place the wreaths before Saturday’s event. To help in the future, visit wreathsacrossamerica.org.
The coordinator added that she is grateful for all the people who donate their time to volunteer and the donated money to buy the wreaths.
But she hopes more can be done in future years as there are more than 33,000 veterans buried on Arsenal Island and just 1,600 wreaths for the event. She said there is a “big misconception” that the government buys the wreaths for the event. The fact is, she said, donations from people, groups and businesses are responsible for the wreaths. It costs $15 to sponsor a wreath.
Ms. Trentz encourages supporters to visit the Wreaths Across America national website to learn more about the program and make donations for next year’s wreaths. For more information, visit wreathsacrossamerica.org.
Attendees will not be required to obtain a visitors’ pass to visit the island and cemetery for the event, according to a news release.
Last week, the U.S. Senate passed a resolution designating Dec. 18 as “Wreaths Across America Day.”
“Wreaths Across America is a powerful demonstration of respect and appreciation for our veterans — both those that we’ve lost and those still with us,” according to a statement from U.S. Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King, who introduced the resolution. “This resolution remembers and honors America’s veterans this holiday season, while also teaching younger generations of the sacrifices that have been made to secure our freedoms and to defend our liberty.”
The national nonprofit Wreaths Across America group works to ensure no veteran from the region is forgotten during the holidays. Thousands of volunteers are expected to place wreaths at the graves of American veterans at about 3,100 locations nationwide.