Each year, millions of Americans come together to remember the fallen, honor those that serve and their families, and teach the next generation about the value of freedom. This gathering of volunteers and patriots takes place in local and national cemeteries in all 50 states – most recently at more than 2,500 participating locations – as part of National Wreaths Across America Day. Each year, a new theme is chosen to help volunteers and supporters focus their messaging and outreach in their own communities. On Monday, Jan. 18, the national nonprofit announced the theme for 2021 is “Live up to their legacy.”
The inspiration for this year’s theme came from a statement made by United States Army Chief of Staff, General James C. McConville, in an interview with Chris Wallace on ‘Fox News Sunday’ in early November 2020. General McConville was there to speak on behalf of the United States Army and the upcoming opening of The National Museum of the United States Army, which was being honored as the “Power Player of the Week.” In the discussion, he said “We stand on the shoulders of heroes that have gone before us, and really what we strive to do is live up to their legacy.”
His message was heard by Executive Director Karen Worcester, and many others, and resonated deeply.
“Listening to this man, who is a hero in his own right, speak about what and who motivates him is inspiring,” said Worcester. “It is the men and women who serve, every day people, giving of themselves for their country and communities. I urge everyone to look to the people and the families that have made these sacrifices to keep this country free, and live up to their legacy.”
Wreaths Across America is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded to continue and expand the annual wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery begun by Maine businessman Morrill Worcester in 1992. The organization’s mission – Remember, Honor, Teach – is carried out in part each year by coordinating wreath-laying ceremonies in December at Arlington, as well as at thousands of veterans’ cemeteries and other locations in all 50 states and beyond.
This year, National Wreaths Across America Day is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 18, 2021. It is always a free event and open to all people (conditions permitting). For more information on how to volunteer locally or sponsor a wreath for a hero, visit www.wreathsacrossamerica.org. To follow stories throughout the year from across the country focused on this theme, use the hashtag #LiveTheirLegacy2021.
In 2020, approximately 1.7 million veterans’ wreaths were placed by volunteers on headstones at 2,557 participating locations around the country in honor of the service and sacrifices made for our freedoms, with each name said out loud. Wreaths Across America volunteers work year-round to ensure military laid to rest are remembered, their families and living veterans are honored, and the next generation is taught about the value of freedom.