Commissioner Hugh Weathers: Wreaths Across America

Honoring those who have served our country is always something to take pride in. This holiday season, Commissioner Weathers is here to talk about a nonprofit organization, Wreaths Across America.

  • Wreaths Across America is a nonprofit I have recently come to know about and it already holds a place in my heart
  • This organization started back in 1992 when Worcester Wreath in Maine found themselves with a surplus of wreaths nearing the holiday season. Owner Morrill Worcester remembered a time from his childhood when he visited Arlington Cemetery and he wanted to honor our country’s veterans
  • The motto: Remember (our fallen US veterans). Honor (those who serve). Teach (your children the value of freedom)
  • Fast forward to 2005 when a photo of Worcester’s wreaths at the cemetery went viral and it attracted national attention
  • In 2008 over 300 locations held wreath-laying ceremonies in every state, Puerto Rico and 24 overseas cemeteries. Over 100,000 wreaths were placed by over 60,000 volunteers.
  • December 13 is now considered “Wreaths Across America Day” after Congress unanimously voted in favor
  • Today, they have wreath-laying ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery, as well as at more than 1,400 additional locations in all 50 states, at sea and abroad
  • What is a veteran wreath?
    • It is 10 balsam bouquets that symbolize 10 special qualities that our veterans embody: faith, love, strength, honesty, humility, ambition, optimism, concern, pride, and their hopes and dreams.
    • Evergreen symbolizes longevity and endurance
    • The red bow symbolizes great sacrifice
    • The forest scent symbolizes purity and simplicity
    • The circular shape symbolizes eternity
  • Ways to get involved:
    • Every December, there is one Saturday in December where all participating cemeteries lay the wreaths. This year, it is Saturday December 15
    • SC participating cemeteries:
      • South Lawn Cemetery in Aiken
      • Beaufort National Cemetary in Beaufort
      • Sunset Memorial Gardens in Granittville
      • MJ Dolly Cooper Veterans Cemetery in Anderson
      • Sunset Hill Cemetery in North Augusta
      • Pineview Memorial Gardens in North Augusta
      • At these locations, you can volunteer to help with the actual placement of wreaths on each grave
    • Sponsor wreaths—you are able to sponsor one or more wreaths with a monetary donation and you can choose a cemetery for them to go. You can honor and remember all who have served, honor a living veteran or remember someone that has passed.
  • I am fortunate enough to be traveling next week and Blanche and I will be stopping at Arlington National Cemetery after the ceremony to see all the thousands of wreaths. I am very excited to see the impact
  • To learn more about Wreaths Across America and Worcester Wreath, visit their website at wreathsacrossamerica.org