Wreaths Across America, a charity that places wreaths on the headstones of veterans’ graves each December, is still short on the number of wreaths they need in order to honor each veteran buried at Arlington National Cemetery this December, according to the Washington Examiner.
The organization says it has sponsorships for approximately 126,800 wreaths, just more than half of the 245,000 it needs to cover every grave at Arlington National Cemetery, a resting place for veterans of every American conflict.
Wayne Hanson, the Wreaths Across America chairman of the board and location director for Arlington National Cemetery, told the Examiner, "Last year at this time we were still short, but not by quite as many.”
“I think a lot of people drive by the cemetery in December and see all those wreaths and unfortunately people still believe that the government does that like they do the flags on Memorial Day," Hanson said.
He added that Wreaths Across America receives no government funding, noting, “It's all individual sponsorships and certainly some corporate sponsorships that allow us to do the work that we do."
Hanson said that three years ago he visited the cemetery in order to place a wreath that had been donated by a family for their son when a father visiting his son’s grave approached and asked, "What about my son?"
"I said to myself, 'How many other people come to Arlington and see these thousands and thousands of wreaths and there's not one on their loved one's marker?'" he said. "I hate to go back to where we can't cover them all and have someone come in saying, 'What about my son or daughter who was served and sacrificed and can't have a wreath?'"
Hanson said that if the organization is still short on wreaths when they are laid on the graves on Dec. 17, they will work with the cemetery in order to prioritize sections.
A spokeswoman for Wreaths Across America told TheBlaze in an email that the organization has extended their deadline to sponsor a wreath for Arlington “until the last truck leaves Maine on Dec. 14th.”
“Those interested in helping can log on to www.wreathsacrossamerica.org, click the DONATE button and sponsor a $15 wreath for Arlington at any time,” she wrote.