NATION

Wreaths Across America falling short of donations

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ARLINGTON, Va. (WJLA) - The annual placing of holiday wreaths on thousands of graves at Arlington National Cemetery has become a tradition.

This year, though, the non-profit group behind the gesture says donations are down, and they're struggling to get enough support to lay a wreath at every Arlington headstone.

Wreaths Across America and its hundreds of volunteers take time out of their holiday season to both lay and pick up wreaths. However, its chairman says that sponsorships at Arlington are down, perhaps because typical donors are giving locally instead.

That's leaving the group about 35,000 wreaths short of their goal of laying 135,000 of the floral circles.

Wreaths Across America Chairman Wayne Hanson says that anyone can log on and donate toward the cause; $15 will make another wreath available to a fallen servicemember's grave.

Many buried at Arlington are from wars long ago and their families are long gone; for them, these wreaths may be the only visitors they get all year.

"We're here to honor those who make that ultimate sacrifice," Hanson said. "We don't want to forget them."

This year's wreath laying will take place on Dec. 14 at 10 a.m. If you'd like to donate to the cause, you can visit wreathsacrossamerica.org.

There is no preregistration required to participate in the laying - one just needs to show up.

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