Wreaths To Honor Veterans This Weekend [AUDIO/VIDEO]
They made the ultimate sacrifice protecting our freedoms. Now, a national non-profit organization is remembering our soldiers this coming Saturday with an annual ceremony that has been a tradition since the early 1990's.
Organizers along with thousands of volunteers will lay Christmas wreaths on the graves of the brave men and women at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. It continues to grow in popularity each year with 400,000 wreaths expected to be placed on site and at 800 monuments, military installations and cemeteries around the United States.
Their mission statement says "Remember, Honor and Teach." So far this week, wreath laying ceremonies have been taking place around the country - from Maine to New Jersey and from California to Florida - all points in between. Mel Russen of Toms River sits on the Advisory Board for the group.
He says, "It is more important than ever to remember what these people did for us. Without them, many of the freedoms we have today wouldn't be possible. We have a lot to say thank you about."
The program began in 1992 by Maine businessman Morrill Worcester. A ceremony will be held this week in New Jersey on the USS Battleship New Jersey before proceeding down to Arlington.
December 15th was the date established by Congress to lay the wreaths. It usually falls on the second Saturday of the month of December.
Russen tells us, "We have volunteers from all over the country - including New Jersey, heading down there to place the wreaths on the graves. It is a small way of saying thanks."
"We also coordinate veteran services and recognition through a variety of programs, and provide schools with teaching aides for projects throughout the year. It's all about spreading our message about the importance of remembering our fallen heroes, honoring those who serve,
and teaching our children. It's a great cause."
For more information, check out their website.