Being able to serve and volunteer my time and talents is something that I really look forward to every year. Since I am not able to attend my church or serve in a photography capacity because of the pandemic, I was able to join forces and photograph Wreath's Across America which is a national movement but held locally in a cemetery held not far from my house. Each December on National Wreaths Across America Day, the mission to Remember, Honor and Teach is carried out by coordinating wreath-laying ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery, as well as at more than 2,100 additional locations in all 50 U.S. states, at sea and abroad.
My uncle actually is the one that is in charge of the local movement and when he asked if I would help him out, I couldn't help but say yes. This year has been difficult for so many, and being able to volunteer is incredibly important this time of year. When I walked into the cemetery I was incredibly humbled by those who came out to serve over the course of 2 days. Day 1 was held the week before Christmas. Fresh snow covered the ground as volunteers took boxes off of trailers and unboxed the wreaths to lay on the grave site of a veteran. Some of those fought in wars like Korea or Vietnam while others served in Iraq or Afghanistan. Flags were placed at the graves to identify the veteran where the wreath would be laid. Day 2 was more laying of wreaths and a presentation ceremony of those who have served in the branches of military. Watching these volunteers honor the sacrifice of these men and women stand and salute or say a prayer at the grave site was incredibly moving. Even watching a little kid who served with his mom who was volunteering stand and salute a grave had me feeling all the feels. There was even a space at the cemetery where all the different serviceman and servicewomen lay a wreath at their service flag. There was a mother there who laid a flag on her sons grave with his son who fought and sacrificed his life in 2016 in Iraq. Cue ALL the tears. I've been blessed to serve and volunteer my services to numerous events but man, this had to be the most HUMBLING experience of my life and I cannot wait to do it again next year. If you are interested in donating or volunteering next year, please let me know. I will get you in touch with the man that leads this local group.
These sisters took a wreath and laid it at their fathers grave to honor him