The organization will hold a ceremony at the Memorial Dec.12 at 12:30 p.m., as part of its six-day journey to lay wreaths at Arlington National Cemetery.
Holmdel, NJ — Each year, Wreaths Across America embarks on a six-day journey to remember and honor military service members. Beginning in Harrington, Maine, a parade of trucks travels down the East Coast on a mission to lay remembrance wreaths at the grave sites of veterans at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, and other Veterans’ cemeteries along the way.
This year, the convoy will once again hold a ceremony at the New Jersey Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial in Holmdel, 1 Memorial Lane, to remember those New Jersey veterans lost during military service, and honor Gold Star Families who have lost loved ones in the military.
The caravan will arrive at the Memorial complex on Wednesday, December 12, at 11:30 a.m., with lunch available for guests courtesy of Jersey Mike’s and Joe Leone’s. The formal ceremony will begin at 12:30 p.m., and will be held in the Memorial. This year, 366 wreaths will be laid around the Memorial, one for each panel that stands engraved with the soldiers’ names who died on that day.
A special performance by the Six String Soldiers will be hosted in the Theater.
The ceremony is free and open to the public.
The annual event, started in 1992, has a very particular mission: “Our goal at Wreaths Across America is to honor and remember all those who served and sacrificed for the freedoms we as Americans enjoy every day,” said Wayne Hanson, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Wreaths Across America. This year marks the 27th year for the mission, and though each year is notable, this year marks the beginning of another chapter in moving the mission forward and recognizing even more US veterans at home and overseas. This year, Wreaths Across America will place 9,387 Maine-made, balsam veterans’ wreaths on Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018, on the headstones of all U.S. service members laid to rest at Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial, located in Colleville-sur-Mer, France.
In 2017 alone, Wreaths Across America and its national network of volunteers laid over 1.5 million veterans' wreaths at 1,433 locations in all 50 U.S. states, at sea, and abroad.
National Wreaths Across America Day is Saturday, Dec. 15, 2018, the day they reach Arlington National Cemetery, and at least 1,500 participating locations across the country will host wreath-laying ceremonies, all run by dedicated volunteers.
Since 1992, WAA founder Morrill Worcester has always asked volunteers placing remembrance wreaths to take time to read the name on the headstone aloud. During the escort of wreaths to Arlington National Cemetery last December, WAA Executive Director Karen Worcester stated, “A person dies twice: the first time, when they stop breathing, and a second time, when someone says their name for the last time.”
“It is a great honor to be included along the caravan stops for this truly special event,” said Sarah Taggart, Executive Director of the New Jersey Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial Foundation. “The opportunity to recognize those that made the ultimate sacrifice for us in this ceremony coincides with a holiday season where we all long for peace, while giving due respect to our history.”
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 27 years ago. The organization’s mission, Remember, Honor, Teach, is carried out in part each year by coordinating wreath-laying ceremonies each December at Arlington, as well as at thousands of veterans’ cemeteries and other locations in all 50 states and beyond. For more information, to sponsor wreaths or to sign up to volunteer, please visit www.WreathsAcrossAmerica.org.
About New Jersey Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial Foundation
The New Jersey Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial, dedicated May 7, 1995, recognizes the sacrifices, courage and valor of the New Jersey Veterans of the Vietnam Era. The Vietnam Era Museum & Educational Center, dedicated in September 1998, strives to encourage and foster a thorough understanding of the Vietnam era, including the political, historical, social, cultural and military aspects that affected the United States, especially New Jersey. For more information, visit www.njvvmf.org.