Wreaths Across America at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery last weekend was the most successful wreath laying event ever at the cemetery, with help from the Gateway Gold Star Mothers organization.
Volunteers in St. Louis purchased and set nearly 25,000 wreaths for the annual event to honor veterans, more than doubling the total from last year.
And a few days later, the wreaths were captured at sunrise by STL From Above photographer Justin Barr, using a drone camera to soar over the gravestones.
See the video here:
Wreaths Across America works with veterans-service organizations and citizens to coordinate wreath laying events to honor veterans from all branches of the military, as well as prisoners of war and those still missing in action.
Two years ago, Gateway Gold Star Mothers received only enough donations to place 1,600 wreaths at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, which has more than 170,000 grave sites. Last year, the number increased to 4,000.
And this year, nearly 11,000 wreaths were sponsored by individuals, with another 10,000-plus donated beyond that to lay roughly 25,000 wreaths on graves at the cemetery. The wreaths were delivered in truckloads from Maine.
The wreaths will stay on the graves until Jan. 27, so the organization encourages residents to take a moment of quiet contemplation at the cemetery in the next month or so and remember the sacrifices of those who have fallen.
The first wreath of 2018 was placed by the Patriot Guard Riders on the grave of Charles Ogle, who was missing in action from Pearl Harbor and recently buried at Jefferson Barracks.
Members of the public can contribute at wreathsacrossamerica.org, but the donations will go toward next year’s campaign.
Donations were accepted through Dec. 3 for this year’s event and are now being taken for next year’s event. Sponsors can designate specific grave sites at the cemetery where wreaths may be placed.
The initiative began 26 years ago at Arlington National Cemetery with the placement of 5,000 wreaths donated by Morrell Worcester, owner of Harrington, Maine’s Worcester Wreath Co. In 2006, Worcester and his family formed Wreaths Across America, a nonprofit initiative that recognizes the courage and sacrifices of U.S. veterans
by placing wreaths on the graves of the fallen during the year-end holiday season.
Last year, members of the public sponsored the placement of almost 1.6 million wreaths at over 1,400 cemetery or memorial sites in all 50 states and overseas – including more than 90,000 volunteers placing wreaths on every grave site at Arlington National Cemetery.