Wreaths Across Chattanooga Saturday, December 14, 2019 @ Noon
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Join us for the Wreaths Across America Ceremony on Saturday, December 14, 2019 The ceremony starts at 12:00 Noon (Eastern Time) at Chattanooga National Cemetery. The event will be held, rain or shine, and the ceremony will last approximately 20 minutes. Immediately following the ceremony, we need hundreds of volunteers to stay and help us lay wreaths at the veteran's headstones.
Same as last year, all parking will be "off-site". We recommend you arrive at one of the parking lots before 11:00 am in order to catch the free shuttle bus to the cemetery before the beginning of the ceremony. See our "Parking" page for more information about where to park.
Each December on National Wreaths Across America Day, our mission to Remember, Honor and Teach is carried out by coordinating wreath-laying ceremonies in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Arlington National Cemetery, as well as at more than 1,400 additional locations in all 50 U.S. states, at sea and abroad.
Join us by sponsoring a veterans’ wreath through one of our local volunteer organizations (see the "Sponsors" page for complete listing), and attend the ceremony at 12:00 noon, and then stay and help us lay wreaths at the Chattanooga National Cemetery. If your organization would like to become a sponsoring group, see details at the bottom of the "Sponsors" page.
The Wreaths Across America™ Mission Statement
Remember ............ the fallen.
Honor .................... those who serve.
Teach .................... our children the value of freedom.
The Wreaths Across America Story ... Wreaths Across America™ was born in 1992 out of a desire to remember and honor American service members for their contributions in preserving our freedom. Morrill Worcester and the Worcester Wreath Company of Harrington, ME had the vision for this project and placed the first wreaths. It has since become an annual tradition to lay wreaths at the grave markers of our fallen veterans during December as a way to express our appreciation and to pay tribute for the sacrifices made for our country by our service men and women. Wreaths Across America™ maintains no political or religious agenda, but rather a mission to remember and honor our veterans during the month of December. At time of traditional family get-togethers, this event provides a great learning opportunity to teach our children of the many sacrifices made by our military men and women. Wreaths Across America™ is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization founded in 2007 as a continuation of the Arlington Wreath Project. WAA ceremonies are held at over 1,400 locations in the United States and many locations overseas. WAA could not carry out its mission without the help of volunteers, location coordinators, sponsors, fundraisers and the generous donations of trucking companies. We extend a special thanks to all involved.
The Wreaths Across Chattanooga Story ... 2006 - 2010 The Arlington Wreath Project (now W.A.A.) encouraged an alliance with Civil Air Patrol (the official U. S. Air Force Auxiliary) to organize wreath-laying ceremonies to be held at National Cemeteries and Memorial sites across the United States. In December, 2006, the first wreath laying ceremony was held at Chattanooga National Cemetery, under the leadership of Maj. Ron Broach, who was then serving as Civil Air Patrol’s Chattanooga Composite Squadron Commander at the time. Under Broach’s leadership, ceremonies were held every December (usually on the 3rd Saturday of the month). In the early years, under 100-200 wreaths were sponsored each year, but over the program’s first decade, though increased awareness and participation of dozens of other volunteer organizations, the average placement increased up to approximately 1,000 – 1,400 wreaths.
2011 - 2014 Continuing after Maj. Broach’s years of leadership, two other CAP members served as WAA Location Coordinators for Chattanooga from 2011 through 2014, and awareness increased, but still we were only able to place 800-1,400 wreaths per year.
2015 - 2017 CAP member, 2d Lt. Austen Roberts took the reigns, and in 2016, we were able to place 6,400 wreaths and in 2017, 20,000. In those years, we have received the usual local donations to cover a few thousand wreaths per year, but in 2016 and 2017, due to unexpected one-time donations from outside the area, we were able to place wreaths on up to 45% of the headstones at the cemetery. This is still far short of being able to honor every veteran at Chattanooga National Cemetery each year, which would required about 43,000 wreaths annually.
2018 Under the inspiration and guidance of Maj. Marty Nix, CAP, who would act as the Location Leader, the planning and leadership of the program was expanded, and a broader range of community leaders and representatives of a number of the area's veteran organizations led the charge to expand the program and seek larger corporate sponsors. This leadership group realized that reaching the 43,000 wreaths goal would require resources far in excess of previous years. In cooperation with Capt. Mickey McCamish, U. S. Navy (retired), and more than a dozen members of the Chattanooga Area Veterans Council, and other veteran’s associations in the area, the group reached out to community leaders, the local media, and corporate groups to get closer to the ultimate goal. By the end of 2018, we were able to raise support for nearly 10,000 wreaths, and that was without any support from outside the community. To view photos and news from last year's event, go to Last Year's Event
2019 Capt. Mickey McCamish, U. S. Navy (retired), who is well known for his many years serving on "Friends of the Festival", and Fran Barker, currently serving as Family Assistance Specialist for the National Guard Family Assistance Center, have accepted the roles as Location Coordinators for the 2019 Chattanooga Event. Working with them is a team of dedicated volunteers that are working together to achieve the 2019 goal; To place a wreath on the headstone of every veteran buried at Chattanooga National Cemetery.
As before, there is a need for more funding, and for hundreds of more volunteers to help place the wreaths following the 20-minute ceremony to be held at Noon on Saturday, December 14th, 2019.
Veterans groups like Disabled American Veterans, the Chattanooga Area Veterans Council, and business including the Surf's Up Car Wash raised funds and held events to help us raise support in 2018. We start each year at zero, so if you can help us again (or for the first time) please visit our "Sponsors" page for more information.
Would you like to help in 2019? As you can see in the photo below, taken in January 2019, at a monthly planning meeting, work is already underway to prepare for this year's event. If you are interested in helping, please contact the Location Coordinators by email. Just click here to open your email program.
CONTACT INFORMATION For additional information, please send inquires to ChattanoogaWAA@gmail.com or For public affairs/interviews, call Mickey McCamish or Fran Barker (Event Coordinators) at: (423) 250-3215 For questions regarding sponsoring grave specific wreaths, please call the Grave Specific Phone Number: (423) 250-3325 or email your request to: ChattanoogaWAA@gmail.com And please, "Like Us" on Facebook: @WreathsAcrossChattanooga