COLUMBIA FALLS, Maine and WASHINGTON, Feb. 27, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Each year, millions of Americans come together to REMEMBER the fallen, HONOR those that serve and their families, and TEACH the next generation about the value of freedom. This gathering of individuals and communities takes place in local and national cemeteries in all 50 states as part of National Wreaths Across America Day. Each year, a new theme is chosen to help supporters focus their messaging and outreach in their own communities. Today, the national nonprofit announces the theme for 2018 is "Be their witness."
The inspiration for this year's theme stems from the 2009 drama "Taking Chance," which was based on the experiences of U.S. Marine Lt. Colonel Michael Strobl, who escorted the body of a fallen Marine, PFC Chance Phelps back to his hometown in Wyoming from the Iraq War.
"I was deeply impacted by this story and found it difficult at times to fathom the burden this young man carried in his task. Lt. Col. Strobl volunteered to be a witness for PFC Phelps, and as the movie so eloquently states, he is now responsible in no small part for PFC Phelps's legacy," said Karen Worcester, executive director, Wreaths Across America. "Through the Wreaths Across America program, we are ensuring that the lives of our men and women in uniform are remembered, not their deaths. It is our responsibility as Americans, to be their witness and to share their stories of service and sacrifice with the next generation."
The millions of volunteers who devote so much of themselves to raise awareness for the mission to Remember, Honor, Teach, in their own communities utilize the annual theme when planning local events and activities in preparation for National Wreaths Across America Day, which will take place this year on Saturday, Dec. 15, 2018.
"In many ways, Wreaths Across America volunteers are already serving in this role to be the witnesses for the local heroes in their own communities. Through their efforts, the veterans and veteran families are given the opportunity to tell their personal stories and share details about the character of our military," added Worcester.
In 2017, more than 1.5 million veteran wreaths were placed on headstones at 1,422 participating cemeteries around the country in honor of the service and sacrifices made for our freedoms, with each name said out loud.
National Wreaths Across America Day is a free event and open to all people. For more information on how to volunteer or sponsor a wreath for a local hero, please visit www.wreathsacrossamerica.org.
About Wreaths Across America
Wreaths Across America is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded to continue and expand the annual wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery begun by Maine businessman Morrill Worcester in 1992. The organization's mission – Remember, Honor, Teach – is carried out in part each year by coordinating wreath-laying ceremonies in December at Arlington, as well as at hundreds of veterans' cemeteries and other locations in all 50 states and beyond. For more information or to sponsor a wreath please visit www.wreathsacrossamerica.org.
SOURCE Wreaths Across America