Members of the Lewis & Clark Young Marines have a good start towards their goal of having 400 donated wreaths to place at the grave sites of local veterans, but they are in need of the community’s help.
“Our goal is to lay 400 wreaths this year and we are lagging way behind with just a few days left,” said Brian Hildebrant, unit commander for the Lewis & Clark Young Marines.
According to a post on the Lewis & Clark Young Marines’ website, as of Nov. 15 they had collected 173 wreaths toward their goal of 400.
According to the Wreaths Across America website, the annual wreath-placing even first got its start in 1992 when Worcester Wreath Company of Harrington, Maine, found themselves with a surplus of wreaths nearing the end of the holiday season. Remembering an experience he had as a boy at Arlington Cemetery in Washington, D.C., owner of the company Morrill Worcester realized he had an opportunity to honor the country’s veterans.
With the help of Maine Sen. Olympia Snowe, Worcester was able to have arrangements made for the wreaths to be placed at Arlington in one of the older sections of the cemetery that had been receiving fewer visitors each year.
According to the Wreaths Across America website, the annual tribute at Arlington went on quietly for several years, until 2005 when a photo of the stones at Arlington, adorned with the wreaths, made its way around the internet. The project started receiving national attention and took off from there as people wanted to help with the Arlington project or start their own similar projects at national or state cemeteries.
After the Lewis & Clark Young Marines collect their 400 wreaths, they will place the wreaths at the grave sites of local veterans following a brief ceremony on Sat., Dec. 17, 9 a.m., at Evergreen Memorial Gardens, 1101 NE 112th Ave., Vancouver.
Each wreath is $15 and can be purchased for donation online at http://lcym.org/waa.
The Young Marines is a national nonprofit 501c(3) youth education and service program for boys and girls, ages 8 through the completion of high school. The organization promotes the mental, moral and physical development of its members. The program focuses on teaching the values of leadership, teamwork and self-discipline so its members can live and promote a healthy, drug-free lifestyle.
Since the Young Marines beginnings in 1959 with one unit and only a few boys, the organization has grown to 281 units with 9,600 and youth and 2,400 adult volunteers in 40 states, the District of Columbia and Okinawa with affiliates in other countries. The Wreaths Across America mission is to “remember the fallen, honor those who serve and teach our children the value of freedom.”
For more information on the Wreaths Across America project, visit the Wreaths Across America website. For more information on the Lewis & Clark Young Marines, who are based in Vancouver, visit their website. Also, to purchase and donate a wreath, visit here.