Stacking Up with Wreaths Across America
With everyone going everywhere to see family this holiday season, it was difficult to figure out a holiday event for the local Stack that would not conflict with members' plans. After careful thought and some input from the HQ Stacks Manager, Liz, we came up with the plan of pooling our money together where everyone chipped in a small amount to a charity in our local area doing good.
Wreaths Across America puts wreaths on soldiers' gravestones, whose faith in life allows it, during the holiday season. They go to national Veteran cemeteries across the nation like the one in our nation and go to each gravestone, cleaning it up along the way, and place a wreath if allowed. We could not attend wreath day personally. However, a friend of the Stack decided to help us out by snapping a few pics to show where our donations to this cause went.
The holiday season is chaotic at times, with visiting everyone you love this year. We at the Chattanooga Stack were happy to do our small part in remembering our fallen brothers and sisters this year and keeping their names alive in our hearts.
San Diego, CA
San Diego is home to many Active Duty service members, Veterans, and retirees. Thus, Wreaths Across America is an extremely important event to the people of San Diego. This event was organized by Jennifer Berry and is supported by both the State National Guard and the Active Duty Military services in the area with additional support from the Boy Scouts of America. This event draws families and volunteers from all corners of San Diego to participate in the early morning hours.
The event begins with a few guest speakers, but notably, all organizers and volunteers participating in the opening and closing ceremonies are Veterans or family members of service members whose loved ones have passed away. Notably, Kimberli Scully, a retired Army Officer, Gold Star wife, and Purple Heart Recipient, was the guest speaker/Master of Ceremony for the event. The speech she gave on honor, remembrance, and duty struck the hearts of all in attendance. Notably, one boy scout was so moved that he ran to the podium to hug her.
The event in itself was a massive success. There were 2,000 wreaths to be lain across the gravestones of both Veterans and service members that have fallen in past and present-day conflicts. Every volunteer laid out no less than five wreaths. The event was closed with a prayer from Pastor Rick Rojas and the playing of Taps courtesy of Bugles Across America.
Fort Benning, GA
The Fort Benning area Stack joined up with the local VFWs to help place wreaths in their assigned section of the Fort Mitchell National Cemetery during the annual Wreaths Across America wreath-laying during the holiday season. We met up around 11 after the Cemetery staff divided the boxes into their respective sections.
Once the event started, we all grabbed boxes and spread out going plot to plot, reading the names aloud and then placing the wreath over the headstone. We repeated this task until we were out of headstones in our section.
Once done with our section, we gathered up the remaining wreaths and pushed on to help out any of the various organizations and groups still laying down wreaths until the cemetery had all wreaths placed on a service member's headstone. It was a great experience that the Fort Benning Area Stack hopes to do for years to come.
Louisville Stack, accompanied by some very close friends and family, made its way to Zachary Taylor National Cemetery on a cool December afternoon. The local Stack was there to help Wreaths Across America lay wreaths on the graves.
Wreaths Across America started with the honors of displaying the colors, followed by a speech from a retired general. The ceremony was concluded by the firing of a 21 gun salute and the playing of taps. After the ceremony, everyone joined in and laid out over 2500 wreaths.
Every year, the Holloman Stack partners with our local Red Cross leader, Michael. The money raised goes directly to feeding local families, including many Veterans that we have had the privilege of meeting through other programs.
Our local Salvation Army has a tangible effect on the local community. Our Stack has put in time with them organizing their warehouse, accepting food deliveries, supporting the Red Kettle Campaign, and spreading awareness of Stack Up While we do it!
Our Stack is constantly looking for opportunities to better our local community. This is just one opportunity that we love to use to ensure our community is receiving the critical support it needs.