The coronavirus pandemic has canceled many traditional holiday events this year, but one important tradition will continue. Wreaths Across America, the annual day in December where people gather at cemeteries nationwide to lay wreaths at the gravestones of those who lost their lives in service to the nation. This year's Wreaths Across America Day is Saturday Dec. 19, with events across the country including the signature wreath-laying at Arlington National Cemetery.
After reports last month of Wreaths Across America being canceled this year, President Trump quickly announced the event would go on. However, much like Memorial Day observances last spring, this year's Wreaths event has been modified due to the pandemic. "Instead of doing a large ceremony and the big wreath-laying that we normally do, we're going to be doing a drive-thru event," says Scott DeMasi with Wreaths Across America-Houston. "People can come in and pick up their wreath at the front gate, we'll hand them a wreath for every person in the car, and they can take it to any of the sections in the cemetery they want."
DeMasi tells KTRH it was very important to continue doing Wreaths Across America this year. "It wasn't about ceremonies and the event itself, it was about the families being able to come pay respects to their loved ones by laying a wreath," he says. "It's a simple gesture, but it was extremely important to each of those family members."
"A drive-thru event made it where families can still honor their loved ones, in a little bit different manner than we normally do, but still show the honor and respect we usually do," DeMasi continues. "Which is a big piece of our mission to remember, honor and teach."
In Houston, Wreaths Across America is held at the Houston National Cemetery on Veterans Memorial Drive. "This Saturday we'll start at 8 a.m., and we'll run until the wreaths are gone," says DiMasi.