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Wreaths Across America 2018 Theme "Be their witness"

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Photo from past Rutherford County event.

On Saturday, December 15, the Griffith Rutherford Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), will be sponsoring the third Wreaths Across America (WAA) Event. This is an event to honor our Veterans interred at Rutherford County Memorial Cemetery. The Official Ceremony will begin at 12 noon at the Mausoleum.

At 10AM, volunteers and those picking up wreaths that they ordered, will meet at the Mausoleum, at the Rutherford County Memorial Cemetery, 1743 Chase High Road, Forest City.

Contact a DAR member or call 828-657-6488 or 828-245-2658 for more information.

Each year, millions of Americans come together to REMEMBER the fallen, HONOR those that serve and their families, and TEACH the next generation about the value of freedom. This gathering of individuals and communities takes place in local and national cemeteries in all 50 states as part of National Wreaths Across America Day. Each year, a new theme is chosen to help supporters focus their messaging and outreach in their own communities. Today, the national nonprofit announces the theme for 2018 is "Be their witness." The inspiration for this year's theme stems from the 2009 drama "Taking Chance," which was based on the experiences of US Marine Lt. Colonel Michael Strobl, who escorted the body of a fallen Marine, PFC Chance Phelps back to his hometown in Wyoming from the Iraq War.

"I was deeply impacted by this story and found it difficult at times to fathom the burden this young man carried in his task. Lt. Col. Strobl volunteered to be a witness for PFC Phelps, and as the movie so eloquently states, he is now responsible in no small part for PFC Phelps's legacy," said Karen Worcester, executive director, Wreaths Across America. "Through the Wreaths Across America program, we are ensuring that the lives of our men and women in uniform are remembered, not their deaths. It is our responsibility as Americans, to be their witness and to share their stories of service and sacrifice with the next generation."

The millions of volunteers who devote so much of themselves to raise awareness for the mission to Remember, Honor, Teach, in their own communities utilize the annual theme when planning local events and activities in preparation for National Wreaths Across America Day, which will take place Saturday, Dec. 15, 2018. "In many ways, Wreaths Across America volunteers are already serving in this role to be the witnesses for the local heroes in their own communities. Through their efforts, the veterans and veteran families are given the opportunity to tell their personal stories and share details about the character of our military," added Worcester.

In 2017, more than 1.5 million veteran wreaths were placed on headstones at 1,422 participating cemeteries around the country in honor of the service and sacrifices made for our freedoms, with each name said out loud.

National Wreaths Across America Day is a free event and open to all people. For more information visit www.wreathsacrossamerica.org.

About Wreaths Across America:

• Wreaths Across America is a nonprofit organization founded in 2007 to continue and expand the annual wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery begun by Maine businessman Morrill Worcester in 1992.

• 1992: First wreaths (5,000) donated by Morrill Worcester and Worcester Wreath Co.

• 2012: 1 millionth wreath placed at Arlington National Cemetery

• 2014: For the first time, every headstone at Arlington National Cemetery received a wreath - 227,000 in total.

• 2016: 25th year that wreaths were placed at Arlington National Cemetery

• WAA's mission - Remember, Honor, Teach - is carried out in part by coordinating wreath-laying ceremonies at Arlington, as well as at veterans' cemeteries and other locations in all 50 states and beyond.

• Since its founding, the organization has expanded to include more than 1,500 local fundraising groups in all 50 states, representing more than 1,200 participating locations, along with our nation's cemetery at Arlington.

• Every year since 2008, Congress proclaims a date in December as National Wreaths Across America Day.

• In 2016 1.2 million remembrance wreaths were placed in total across the country - 245,000 of them at Arlington National Cemetery and close to a million volunteers participated at 1,228 locations nationwide, with more than 44,000 volunteers laying wreaths at Arlington National Cemetery. More than 400 truckloads of wreaths were delivered across the country by hundreds of volunteer professional truck drivers.

What We Do REMEMBER

• WAA's annual pilgrimage from Columbia Falls, Maine to Arlington National Cemetery has become known as the world's largest veterans' parade, stopping at schools, monuments, veterans' homes and communities all along the way to remind people how important it is to Remember, Honor and Teach.

• Special memorials are held at Pearl Harbor, the Pentagon and Shanksville, Pennsylvania, one of the four 9/11 tragedy locations.

• WAA hosts statehouse ceremonies in nearly all 50 states.

HONOR

• WAA conducts several programs to honor our veterans, including our popular Thanks-A-Million campaign, which distributes free thank-you cards to people all over the country to share with veterans as a simple thank-you for their service.

• The organization participates in veterans' events throughout the year as well as public outreach through Veterans Day and Memorial Day programs, public service announcements, press coverage and the WAA website. WAA has a veteran liaison on staff to work with local veterans' organizations.

TEACH

• WAA is committed to teaching younger generations about the value of their freedoms and the importance of honoring those who sacrificed so much to protect those freedoms. We offer learning tools, interactive media projects and opportunities for schools, 4-H clubs, Scouts and other youth groups to participate in our efforts.

• A downloadable curriculum and books are available to help schoolchildren appreciate the roles our veterans played in preserving their freedoms. These materials are designed to encourage the direct involvement of local veterans.

In many homes, there is an empty seat for one who is serving or one who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. There is no better time to express our appreciation than during the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. Join us at any of our more than 1,200 participating locations to show our veterans and their families that we will not forget. We will never forget.

Why do you use live wreaths? Wreaths Across America does not "decorate" headstones. We are honoring all veterans and active military members by placing live wreaths on the headstones of veterans. The fresh evergreens have been used for centuries as a symbol recognizing honor and as a living tribute renewed annually. We want people to see the tradition as a living memorial to veterans and their families.

What are the sources of funding for WAA? We receive no government funding. National Wreaths Across America Day and other events are made possible by thousands of volunteers who organize local ceremonies, raise funds to sponsor wreaths and participate in the events. Morrill Worcester of Worcester Wreath Co. - the founder of WAA - continues to be a major donor of wreaths each year, but the majority of the cost for the program is paid for by individual wreath sponsors, corporate donors and volunteer truck drivers and companies.

For information about this year's events, to sign up to be a volunteer or to sponsor a wreath, visit www.wreathsacrossamerica.org.

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