Military Life Resources

How to participate in Wreaths Across America this weekend

Wreaths Across America has become a sacred event for many families wishing to honor the fallen. Here's how you can participate.
Miguel Ortiz Avatar
(U.S. Army)

Since 2008, Congress has annually declared one Saturday in December as National Wreaths Across America Day. On that Saturday, people participate in wreath-laying ceremonies at over 4,000 locations around the world. These live, balsam veterans’ wreaths are placed on the headstones of deceased service members whose names are said aloud to thank them for their service and keep them in the nation’s collective memory. This Saturday, December 16, 2023, you can participate in this honorable effort, too.

Wreaths Across America is open to anyone interested in participating (U.S. Army)

For 2023, Wreaths Across America has organized for over 2 million veterans’ wreaths to be placed on headstones at local, national and military cemeteries. Wreaths will also be placed at veterans’ memorials and historic sites. Coordinating such a massive effort is no small task and Wreaths Across America works throughout the year to make it happen each December.

Wreaths Across America is a huge logistical effort (U.S. Army)

Location Coordinators work with cemetery contacts and local governments to organize and promote the ceremonies, coordinate wreath deliveries, and manage the placing of the wreaths. The mission is to remember the fallen, honor those who serve, and teach the next generation the value of freedom. In fact, Wreaths Across America reports that over a third of wreath layers are typically children.

Laying wreaths honors the fallen and teaches the price and value of freedom (U.S. Navy)

A lot goes into getting a wreath from production to placement, and Wreaths Across America receives no government funding. Instead, this cost is taken care of by individual sponsors and corporate donors at a $17 per wreath. However, Wreaths Across America relies on volunteers for much of the work. Along with sponsoring trucking companies, volunteer truck drivers help transport the wreaths to the ceremonies. The actual laying of the wreaths is performed by tens of thousands of volunteers, many of whom come as families, who honor friends, family and strangers who wore the nation’s cloth.

Wreath ceremonies bring Americans together across the country and around the world to honor the nation’s service members (U.S. Army)

On the Wreaths Across America website, people interested in volunteering can search for nearby sites based on the name of a cemetery or city/postal code. From this information, a list will be generated of Wreaths Across America ceremonies, their addresses, and distance from the input location. Additionally, the listings will note if the site is “Ceremonial Only” or if it is a “Full Ceremony” with wreath-laying. From there, volunteers simply input who they plan to attend with, along with their name and contact information to complete their registration.