COLUMBIA FALLS, Maine — 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 volunteers and patriots takes place in local and national cemeteries in all 50 states – most recently at more than 3,100 participating locations – as part of National Wreaths Across America Day. Each year, a new theme is chosen to help volunteers and supporters focus their messaging and outreach in their own communities. Today, the national nonprofit announces the theme for 2022 is “Find a way to serve.”
The inspiration for this year’s theme came from a few different places and seemed to be a recurring conversation throughout the last year. Notably, the American Rosie Movement(TM) which highlights the stories of the World War II-era women known as Rosie the Riveters, or simply “Rosies.” These women pulled together to do the work that needed to be done for our freedom. The movement encourages youth to get involved in their own communities to serve in small ways that can make a big impact. As part of this new theme, Wreaths Across America is revamping its educational curriculum working with like-minded organizations to develop action plans to inspire young people across the country to find a way to serve in 2022 and beyond.
“You don’t have to be in military service to serve your community and country,” said Karen Worcester, executive director, Wreaths Across America. “Serving others, or being in service to others, gives purpose and I’ve seen first-hand from Gold Star Families to Veterans, how it can help people heal.”
In 2021, more than 2.4 million veterans’ wreaths were placed by volunteers on headstones at 3,137 participating locations around the country in honor of the service and sacrifices made for our freedoms, with each name said out loud. Wreaths Across America volunteers work year-round to ensure military laid to rest are remembered, their families and living veterans are honored, and the next generation is taught about the value of freedom.
“Every person has something to give, whether it is their time, ideas, compassion, or resources,” added Worcester. “What can seem like the simplest act or gift, can start a nationwide movement and that is our hope that this theme will spark in people. I think Mother Teresa said it best, ‘the greatest good is what we do for one another.’”
Locally, National Wreaths Across America Day is Saturday, Dec. 17, at Greenville Union Cemetery, Greenville. The ceremony begins at noon with wreath laying immediately following. It is a free event and open to all people. For more information on how to volunteer locally or sponsor a wreath for an American hero, please visit www.wreathsacrossamerica.org.