Blog

How wreaths Across America supports unity

Wreaths Across America (WAA) fosters national unity through remembrance and honor, bringing people together in a collective act of reverence.

 

Every December, Wreaths Across America (WAA) coordinates wreath-laying ceremonies at veteran cemeteries that draw thousands of volunteers. The non-profit organization’s project is a massive logistical undertaking each year that reaches thousands of locations – largely accomplished thanks to the efforts of those volunteers, community groups, and the transportation industry working in unison toward a common goal: honoring fallen soldiers through continued remembrance.

In 2024, WAA has set a goal of delivering 3,000,000 wreaths to more than 4,000 locations across the country. Each wreath will be placed on a grave of a United States veteran, a hero who bravely fought and sacrificed for American liberty. The WAA project brings together millions of Americans whose efforts ensure we remember the fallen, honor those who serve, and teach the next generation about the true value of freedom.

As WAA gears up for 2024 under the theme “Serve & Succeed,” it’s paramount to highlight the indispensable role of the trucking industry in transporting these memorial wreaths across the country. This year, take a look into the logistics underlying this enormous undertaking, showcasing how communities like Dallas-Fort Worth host ceremonies that epitomize WAA’s spirit of remembrance and gratitude. Let’s explore the intricate operations behind the scenes and highlight examples of dedication like those displayed at Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery – where a community united to pay tribute alongside WAA.

A local community member of the Dallas-Forth Worth area pays respects to a fallen veteran during the 2023 National Wreaths Acros America Day.

Wreaths Across America’s Mission and Impact

At its core, Wreaths Across America’s mission statement is a simple one: remember, honor, and teach. Amongst their programs, lies the annual Wreaths Across America Day. Each December, volunteers across all fifty states lay wreaths at veterans’ graves in a simple yet profoundly moving tribute. With over 4,225 ceremonies coordinated in 2021 alone, the scale of WAA’s program matches the nation’s immense gratitude.

The people working at and with WAA as volunteers hold a particularly powerful quote close to their hearts: “A person dies twice: once when they take their final breath, and later, the last time their name is spoken.” The actual origin of the quote varies, but it’s poignancy is undeniable. Thus, each time someone lays a WAA wreath on a veteran’s grave, they speak their names aloud. It goes beyond simple ritual – it’s an act of rekindling the memory of a person and ensuring their legacy lives on.

Newly appointed transportation manager Courtney George captured the spirit behind the numbers in her recent interview on the Semi-Related Podcast: “Our goal as an organization: for every veteran, whether domestic or abroad, to have a wreath and to be remembered each year.” This solemn pledge drives WAA’s incredible growth each year, as more communities unite to honor America’s heroes. From little-known burial grounds to iconic sites like the Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery, these poignant ceremonies remind us that freedom came at a cost – one wreath, one life, one sacrifice at a time.

As WAA expanded its reach, an intricate network formed – volunteers, donors, military families - all converging in a common purpose each December. Among them, one group emerged as the ceremony’s quiet helpers: the trucking industry. As our story continues, we’ll see how drivers fan across America to deliver ever more wreaths so that no hero is forgotten.

J.B. Hunt truck driver arrives to deliver a load of wreaths at the Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery for the 2023 Wreaths Across America Day.

The Role of the Trucking Industry in WAA

Laying wreaths at thousands of locations nationwide poses an enormous logistical challenge: how to connect these millions of wreaths into willing hands to place at heroes’ resting places. Stepping up to that challenge is the American trucking industry, providing the vital infrastructure necessary to make these ceremonial tributes possible.

As WAA’s transportation manager, Courtney George oversees the complex cross-country relay. With transportation veterans steering countless trucks, wreaths blanket the nation each December. In 2021, over 500 truckloads carried by 390 different carriers delivered respectful remembrance to fallen heroes.

A large percentage of drivers working at these carriers are veterans themselves or from Gold Star families. As a result, these deliveries carry special meaning, underscoring shared bonds of family and country. Without these drivers and the transportation industry as a whole, the WAA team would never be able to deliver the millions of wreaths they send across the country.

WAA partnerships span the whole transportation industry, from national carriers to single-rig owner-operators united behind a common calling. As George states: “We work with everyone… If you’ve got one truck or five trucks, I’ll talk to you and you’ll get the same amount of respect that anyone does.” No matter their size or the scope of their operations, the trucking industry’s members step forward to ensure the successful delivery of wreaths needed to carry out thousands of remembrance ceremonies.

Local volunteers post for a picture at the Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery during the 2023 National Wreaths Across America Day.

Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery Event

When Wreaths Across America came to Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery in December, they made a truly magical event possible. The ambitious goal of 54,000 wreaths honoring local veterans sparked a community movement. More than 6,000 volunteers gathered to lay the wreaths.

Grounds managers, college baseball players, gold star families, and more all converged to give something back. The numbers were incredible – but mere statistics fail to capture December 17th’s emotional weight. Love suffused every wreath-lined avenue, a living tribute to the fallen encircling every headstone.

Reflecting on Wreaths Across America’s profound national impact, a unifying tapestry emerges -- one thread at a time, but mighty in aggregate. However they serve, all contributors share a common purpose: to solemnly honor every fallen hero through ceremony, symbol, and living memory alike.

We celebrate the truckers, volunteers, and donors that enabled these tributes. We applaud communities like Dallas-Fort Worth, where respect and gratitude was shown en masse. At Optym, we are proud to play even a small role supporting WAA’s mission. Through every wreath delivered, every headstone marked, every child taught why sacrifice warrants tribute, America pays forward the blessings secured by our nation’s servicemen and women.

The Optym team would like to thank everyone who made this incredible event possible! If you’d like to learn more about Wreaths Across America and the amazing efforts of our country’s transportation industry in helping guarantee success for these events, check out Optym’s in-depth interview with Courtney George on the Semi-Related Podcast.

 

Similar posts

Want to see more?
Sign up to be notified!

Keep up to date with industry trends, news, and more.

Get Notified