Arlington Cemetery Wreath Laying Tradition Faces Donations Shortfall

Image: Arlington Cemetery Wreath Laying Tradition Faces Donations Shortfall

Thursday, 05 Dec 2013 05:52 PM

By Cynthia Fagen

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There may be a shortage of wreaths to lay on the graves at Arlington National Cemetery this year because corporate donors that help cover the cost are spreading their funds to include other veteran's cemeteries across the nation, the Washington Post reported Thursday.

That has left the nonprofit Wreaths Across America short about $525,000 so that it will only be able to afford to lay 100,000 wreaths — 35,000 fewer than it planned for the Dec. 14 ceremony.

"Our donations are up overall nationwide, but some of our larger corporate sponsors want to fund [wreaths] in other areas," Wayne Hanson, president of the group’s board of directors told the Post.

"It’s great because we’re getting veterans recognized at other locations, and I would love to see wreaths on every single veteran’s grave across America, but I consider Arlington our nation’s premier cemetery."

Last year, volunteers laid holiday wreaths at 110,600 of Arlington’s 300,000 white headstones at Section 60, where veterans from the most recent American wars are buried, and at Section 27, home to the oldest graves in the 150-year-old cemetery.

About 15,000 people, some of whom are also veterans, as well as family members of those who have fallen, have already signed up at Wreaths Across America this year.

Wreaths Across America laid another 400,000 wreaths last year in 800 other veterans' cemeteries across the United States.

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