Judge Advocates from the 204th Officer Basic Course joined thousands of volunteers from across the country in laying wreaths on veterans’ tombstones at Arlington National Cemetery on December 16th. According to Wreaths Across America, the nonprofit that organizes the event, every one of the more than 245,000 tombstones in the cemetery was decorated with a wreath this year.
The tradition began 26 years ago, when Maine wreath maker Morrill Worcester donated 5,000 wreaths to the cemetery. The wreaths are still constructed in Columbia Falls, Maine, and are carried to Arlington by a caravan of trucks. Funding is provided entirely by charitable contributions. At $15 each, it cost an estimated $3.6 million to cover Arlington National Cemetery in wreaths this year.
The Wreaths Across America caravan of large trucks loaded with wreaths pulled into the cemetery in the early morning hours of the 16th. By 10 AM, an estimated 30,000 volunteers were in the cemetery, retrieving wreaths from the trucks and laying them on tombstones. The Judge Advocates’ participation in this year’s event was organized by Lt. Shane Bagwell.