Please read the event description carefully.
Thank you for volunteering with the Arlington National Cemetery's 25th annual Wreaths Across America program.
Founded in 1864, Arlington National Cemetery is our nation’s premier military cemetery with over 400,000 graves spread across 624 acres.
Since 1992, and now in its 25th year, the non-profit organization Wreaths Across America coordinates wreath-laying ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery, as well as over 1,100 additional locations in all 50 U.S. states, at sea, and abroad.
Thousands of volunteers are needed to help with the placement of wreaths at Arlington National Cemetery. If you would like to participate you are welcome to do so with our Washington, DC History & Culture organization, or on your own, as this event is open to the general public. All are welcome to volunteer, including children and community organizations.
We will be placing wreaths somewhere south of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, in the southwest potion of Arlington National Cemetery. The exact location will not be determined until the day of the event because we’ll go where we’re needed. We will post our volunteer location on our Meetup and Facebook pages once it’s determined. You are free to volunteer with the wreath placement at any point in the cemetery and don’t necessarily need to be part of our group, although we would love to have you join our team.
Also, this is not a government-funded event and no tax dollars are used for this program. Instead, all the wreaths are purchased through the generous donations of individuals and various organizations. The past two years the Arlington Wreaths program has had enough wreaths for every grave site. However, this year there are not enough wreaths for all of the Arlington grave sites. Therefore, the deadline to make a monetary donation to increase the number of wreaths has been extended to December 14th. To make a donation please visit the following web link: http://www.wreathsacrossamerica.org/#join-us
Arlington Wreaths Event Schedule – Please Read Carefully
7:00AM: Metro rail opens (system-wide)
8:00AM: Arlington National Cemetery Gates open (Visitor Parking Garage opens at 8am for ANC Family Pass and Handicap Pass ONLY)
8:15-8:30AM: Wreaths Across America Truck Convoy arrives Arlington Cemetery Main Gate (time is approximate).
8:15-9:00AM: The Washington, DC History & Culture organization’s first volunteers will arrive and meet outside of the Visitor Center. Look for Robert Kelleman, Michele Ballard, Harry Phillips, and/or a group of people wearing Meetup stickers on their coats, which we’ll hand out. You can review the Visitor Center exhibits, stop by the gift store, use the restroom, and/or socialize with your fellow volunteers until 9:00 am.
9:00-9:30AM: The Washington, DC History & Culture volunteers will walk one-half mile from the Visitor Center to the McClellan Gate. We’ll arrive at the McClellan Gate at approximately 9:15, well before the start of the opening ceremonies and socialize, take pictures, etc. and stay until approximately 9:45. If you are meeting us here look for Look for Robert Kelleman, Michele Ballard, and/or a group of people wearing Meetup stickers on their coats, which we’ll hand out.
9:30AM: Wreaths Across America Opening Ceremony (McClellan Gate)
9:45AM: The Washington, DC History & Culture team will potentially need to leave the dedication ceremony early (at 9:45) in order order to reach our volunteer location by 10:00. We will walk from the McClellan Gate to our volunteer site somewhere south of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, within the southwest portion of the cemetery. We will not be able to determine the exact point we will be placing wreaths until the day of the event as we’ll go where we’re needed. We will post our volunteer site on our Meetup and Facebook pages but if you’re not already with our group by 9:45 am you will probably arrive too late to locate us and help us places wreaths. Instead, place wreaths elsewhere as volunteers are needed throughout the cemetery.
10:00AM: Wreath laying begins across cemetery
TBD: Wreath laying completed. Afterwards you are welcome to join us for lunch and socializing at the Pentagon City Mall food court.
Last Year's Photo Contest Winner
"A Marine Places a Wreath at Arlington National Cemetery"
Photo by: Warfare01
Event Information - Please Read Carefully
Registration: FREE and open to the public, and no tickets are required. We appreciate you registering with us on our Meetup and/or Facebook page, which will allow you to receive event updates. If you are arriving as part of a group, there is no need for every member of the group to register with us. We are posting the event as a public-service type announcement.
Children and Groups: This event is open to the public and all are welcome.
Wreath Donations: This is not a government-funded event and no tax dollars are used for this program. Instead, all the wreaths are purchased through the generous donations of individuals and various organizations. The past two years the Arlington Wreaths program has had enough wreaths for every grave site. However, this year there are not enough wreaths for all of the Arlington grave sites. Therefore, the deadline to make a monetary donation to increase the number of wreaths has been extended to December 14th. To make a donation please visit the following web link: http://www.wreathsacrossamerica.org/#join-us
Weather: This event will take place light rain or shine, and including cold weather, which is the current forecast. If it’s on the calendar, then we’re proceeding as planned. However, monitor your own sources for weather updates and our web site for weather-related announcements.
Will It Be Cold?: It’s Mid-December in Washington, DC - so probably. Please dress accordingly.
Parking: Until 2:00pm, only those with handicapped permits and family passes will be allowed to park at Arlington National Cemetery in the Welcome Center Parking Garage. And even in those instances parking at Arlington National Cemetery is not recommended in order to allow the limited number of parking spaces to be used by those with the most need. Instead, please park elsewhere and walk or use the Metro Rail system. At the Pentagon there should be public parking available in the Eads, Fern and Joyce lots. The Eads, Fern and Joyce lots are each about the same distance to the south Service Complex gate (the gate between the Air Force and Pentagon Memorials). Those are the parking lots along Army-Navy Drive in Pentagon City.
Metro: While the Arlington Cemetery Station on the Blue Line stops at the cemetery entrance, you can also access various parts of the Cemetery from the Rosslyn, Pentagon, and Pentagon City stops via only a short walk. To support our Metro-traveling volunteers, multiple gates will be open to provide pedestrian access to the Cemetery. There will be two pedestrian-access gates at Arlington Cemetery that are near Metro stations. They are about a mile walk from the Rosslyn, Arlington Cemetery, Pentagon and Pentagon City stations. If arriving from Rosslyn, use the Ord & Weitzel gate on the cemetery’s north side, just south of the USMC Memorial (“Iwo Jima”). For access from the Pentagon and Pentagon City stops, walk to the south maintenance access gate on the south side, between the Air Force and Pentagon Memorials.
Security: Arlington officials have increased cemetery access security which will be in effect on Wreath Day. Expect random bag inspections and other related increased security screening to happen much as those that occur at major sports events and stadiums. We suggest you leave large bags, knapsacks, etc., at home or in your vehicle. In addition, food and drinks are not allowed on cemetery grounds. (Bottled water is okay.)
Meeting Point: See our event schedule. You are welcome to join us at any time during the event and/or depart at any time during the event. We recommend meeting us at either the Arlington National Cemetery Visitor Center between 8:15 and 9:00, or at the McClellan Arch between 9:15 and 9:45. Because of the size of the cemetery (624 acres), the number of people attending this event (thousands), and the fact that we won’t know the exact point we’ll be volunteering at in the cemetery until the day of the event (we’ll go where we’re needed) it will be challenging to try and meet us anywhere else after 9:45 am. Our volunteer location will be somewhere south of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, in the southwest portion of the cemetery. Although we will post our whereabouts on our Meetup and Facebook pages. If you would like to participate in this event on your own, without our group, you are welcome to do so as Arlington Wreaths is open to the general public.
Placing a Wreath at a Specific Grave Site: This is our most frequently asked question. You are welcome to do so. However, please arrive as early as possible otherwise the grave site may already have a received a wreath by another volunteer. The wreaths are distributed from large trucks positioned throughout the cemetery. People will be lining up behind the trucks once they park in the cemetery, so that those who really want to lay a wreath at a specific grave, might want to find the truck closest to that section and get in line. It looks like they are going to start handing out the wreaths at 10, but I'm sure people will be lining up before that.
Wreath Laying Protocol: The wreaths are placed ribbon up-ward. Also, as this is a cemetery appropriate behavior is expected at all times.
School/Community Service Credit: During or immediately after the event we will be happy to sign any paperwork verifying school/community service credit.
Post-Event: Optional lunch afterwards at the Pentagon City Mall food court.
Photo Contest: If you take any good pictures during our Arlington Wreaths event update them onto our either our Meetup page or our Facebook page and you will automatically be entered into our photo contest. The picture(s) that best captures “the spirit” of our Arlington Wreaths event will win an Amazon gift card. For additional details on the contest or to see previous winners visit the following link: https://www.meetup.com/DCHistoryAndCulture/events/232685963/
Arlington Wreath “Clean-Up” Event: Volunteers will also be needed on a TBD date in January 2017 to remove the holidays wreaths from Arlington National Cemetery. Details on that will be posted after the December 17 Arlington Wreath event. Stay tuned for details, which will publish.
Additional Questions: Anything that can’t be answered by the above event description, Google, or common sense please let me know. Unfortunately, we will not respond to communications from people that failed to read basic event information (e.g. where and when are we meeting, do I need a ticket, where do we park, etc.).
Additional Web Links:
Pictures from Last Year
Our Washington, DC History & Culture volunteer team was 144 people strong! We expect an even bigger group this year.
This event is hosted by Washington, DC History & Culture.
Meet People * See Places * Learn Things * Have Fun!
Washington, DC History & Culture
“Bringing people together to experience the history and culture of Washington, DC”
We look forward to seeing you. Thanks!
Robert Kelleman & Michele Ballard