Recognition of the service and sacrifice of our veterans, and their families, is especially important during the traditional holiday season. With this sentiment in mind, I would like to share information about the Wreaths Across America program, an annual tradition that serves to honor and remember men and women of the armed forces who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our country. Founded in 1992, the Wreaths Across America program was first initiated by a donation from the Harrington, Maine-based Worcester Wreath Company of 5,000 holiday wreaths to be placed on the headstones of our nation’s fallen heroes at Arlington National Cemetery. Wreaths Across America has grown from a local, community-based outreach program to national nonprofit organization with a mission dedicated to remembering, honor and teach by celebrating the lives of fallen armed service men and women.

Today, Wreaths Across America has grown to include state and federal cemeteries across the country as well as 24 veterans cemeteries located on foreign soil. The organization works with local partners and trucking companies to carry out its mission. During previous events trucking companies have helped deliver over 300 loads of wreaths to over 1,000 sites across the country. In our area, both the Coastal Bend State Veterans Cemetery and Seaside Memorial Park received wreaths for veterans’ headstones.

In 2008, the annual tradition received an official designation from the United States Congress, which proclaimed that one Saturday each December be known as National Wreaths Across America Day. This important event is to be held on Saturday, December 15. It is important to remember and celebrate the lives of our fallen soldiers. An important component of the Wreaths Across America program is to teach younger generations the value of our country’s freedoms and the importance of honoring the sacrifices made by our men and women in uniform in the name of protecting those freedoms. To fulfill this mission, the convoy carrying wreaths from Maine to Arlington National Cemetery each year makes a point to stop at dozens of schools along the way to share its mission with students of all ages. In addition, Wreaths Across America offers many downloadable teaching materials.

There are several ways for those looking to get involved with Wreaths Across America during this year’s event, including sponsoring a wreath or volunteering at local wreath-laying event. In addition to its wreath-laying program, the organization also has other initiatives to pay homage to veterans throughout the year. To learn more visit Wreaths Across America.

If you would like to review more about the legislature, please visit The Texas Legislature Online. If you have questions regarding any of the information mentioned in this week’s article, please do not hesitate to call my Capitol or District Office. As always, my offices are available at any time to assist with questions, concerns or comments (Capitol Office, 512-463-0672; District Office; 361-949-4603).

– State Representative Todd Hunter, District 32

Rep. Hunter represents Nueces County (Part). He can be contacted at todd.hunter@house.texas.gov or at 512-463-0672.