The annual Wreaths Across America event to honor veterans buried at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery with wreaths for the holidays is still being held this weekend. More than 14,000 wreaths are set to be placed on the graves of veterans in the cemetery in the annual event.
Wreath distribution will be held from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 16; Thursday, Dec. 17; and Saturday, Dec. 19. There will be no distribution Friday, Dec. 18. See below for the location. A group of Patriot Guard Riders unloaded two semi trucks of wreaths Tuesday that will be placed on graves at the national cemetery Saturday. The U.S. Senate passed a bill to officially recognize Saturday as Wreaths Across America Day.
This year, 14,515 wreaths were sponsored at Jefferson Barracks Cemetery, which is not enough to cover all the veterans buried in the cemetery. There are still 35,485 graves beyond those that will be covered by wreaths. The deadline to donate to this year’s event has passed, but you can donate to next year’s event at Jefferson Barracks here.
New protocols will be in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic and St. Louis County’s “Safer at Home” order. Masks will be required of anyone laying a wreath, and there will be no public ceremony this year. The cemetery director will lay ceremonial wreaths representing each branch of the military and prisoners of war/missing in action, or POW/MIAs. That event will be recorded and uploaded to the Facebook page for the public to view.
No wreaths will be in the cemetery for the general public to lay if they have not prearranged a specific wreath ahead of time. That is required in order to follow strict attendance requirements that allow the event to be held under St. Louis County’s stay-at-home advisory.
“We are asking everyone to please abide by these guidelines so we can proceed with this event and keep everyone safe,” organizers said on the event’s Facebook page.
Organizers specifically requested that no one come to the cemetery unless they are a preregistered volunteer or a family member or friend who has requested a grave-specific wreath and is going to place it.
Wreath distribution will be held offsite at the parking lot at Sheridan and Boundary roads across from Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery. Make a left onto Boundary to enter the parking lot and follow the directions of the volunteers. Remain in your vehicle and a volunteer will place the wreaths into your vehicle.
If you purchased a grave-specific wreath and said you wanted a volunteer to place it, that will happen. Family and friends who reserved a grave-specific wreath do not need to register as volunteers.
Organizers said, “We truly appreciate everyone’s support and understanding during this most challenging year as we do our best to honor and remember the heroes and loved ones at rest at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery.”
St. Louis moving company honored for storing, loading wreaths for shipment across country
The Olde Towne Fenton (OTF) Chapter of the National Society of Daughters of the Revolution, or NSDAR, awarded its Community Service Award to Josh McGuire, president of operations at McGuire Moving & Storage at 8645 S. Broadway in St. Louis for his role in advancing Wreaths Across America, specifically for getting the wreaths across America.
As part of the Wreaths Across America program, each December for the past eight years, McGuire has volunteered his time and the resources of his trucking firm transporting truckloads of fresh, balsam fir wreaths picked up in the state of Maine and transported to St. Louis in order to honor those heroes laid to rest at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery. The company also serves a critical function in the transportation logistics chain by providing a cross-dock operation. Each December for about 10 days, McGuire Moving & Storage clears out warehouse space to get wreaths loaded onto and off trucks as truckers move wreaths to cemeteries across the country.
Jennifer Tice-Williams, OTF’s chair of the Community Service Award Committee, congratulated McGuire and expressed appreciation for his volunteer service to help in Wreaths Across America’s mission to “Remember the Fallen, to Honor Those who Serve, and to Teach our Children the Value of Freedom.”
OTF is proudly sponsoring 100 wreaths at Jefferson Barracks this year, contributing toward NSDAR’s sponsorship of the Wreaths Across America Mobile Education Exhibit.
The Wreaths Across America Mobile Education Exhibit is ideally suited to further the goals and objectives of DAR; it seems to be a match made in heaven. Wreaths Across America’s goal is to “Remember, Honor, Teach.” The education trailer moves the mission to remember the fallen, honor those who serve and their families and teach our children the value of freedom in local communities. The 48-foot trailer includes a movie theater that seats 20 people for visual presentations, and inside and outside TV monitors to play videos highlighting the mission and purpose of Wreaths Across America. Interactive, touch screens allow guests to sponsor a wreath, or to search for participating cemeteries. The education trailer is well suited for many types of events; elementary schools; veteran events; employee/customer appreciation events, community events and DAR events.
Linda Kanevsky, Olde Towne Fenton Chapter regent, praised Josh McGuire while presenting OTF’s Community Service Award in November and remarked how proud her chapter was of this hometown award recipient and his achievements and contributions nationally with the Wreaths Across America program.