DENVER — Saturday, December 19, is National Wreaths Across America Day, a day when people gather across the country to place wreaths at the gravestones of fallen military veterans.
But because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the danger presented by large, in-person gatherings, some participants in Wreaths Across America are getting a head start in recognizing the service of our nation’s veterans.
Wreaths Across America
Wreaths Across America, is not just about a wreath.
At Fort Logan National Cemetery in Denver, volunteers have been adorning gravestones with wreaths since December 16, and will continue to do so until the 19th. Volunteers signed up for one-hour time slots to lay the wreaths in order to keep the number of volunteers down and to be able to socially distance from one another.
They have a goal to place about 10,800 wreaths across the cemetery’s 214 acres. Cemeteries throughout Colorado and the rest of the country will participate in the annual event, the largest being Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.
One of the volunteers is Tom Wykstra. For him, this annual tradition hits home. Six years ago, his son, Pfc. Jacob Wykstra, died in an aircraft crash in Afghanistan.
“As a Gold Star father whose son was killed in action, one of the most important aspects is to know my son’s sacrifice will never be forgotten,” Wykstra said.
Each time Wykstra lays a wreath, he looks at the person’s name, service, and steps back to say their name. “It’s important that none of them ever be forgotten,” he said.
More information on Wreaths Across America is available here.
If you are interested in volunteering or donating to a local organization that helps sponsor the tradition, click here. There is also an option to search which cemeteries near you are participating in the event.