Wreaths Across America, the non-profit that has set a goal of placing a remembrance wreath at each of the nearly 230,000 headstones at Arlington Nation Cemetery, is still facing a shortfall this holiday season of about 18,000 commemorative garlands.
The problem springs from a lack of funding, the executive director of the group, which gets no monetary assistance from the government, tells Breitbart News Daily.
Contrary to common belief, a private charity places wreaths on the headstones at the national cemetery in Arlington, Va., not the federal government.
“The misnomer is that they’re provided by the government, we don’t accept any government funds,” Karen Worcester, the executive director for Wreaths Across America, told the Breitbart News Daily show on Sirius XM Patriot channel 125. “Everyone of these wreathes that is placed is a gift from somebody who wants to remember the fallen and honor those who served.”
Worcester shed a tear while relating the story of a father asking for a wreath for his veteran son buried at the Arlington Cemetery, but the organization was unable to provide one because they did not raise enough funding that year.
Since Nov. 27, the charity has been able to raise funds to cover 12,000 wreaths of a 30,000 deficit for headstones at the national cemetery.
As of the end of business on Sunday, the organization was “still about 18,000 wreaths short,” she told Breitbart News Daily.
At $15 for each of the fresh evergreen wreaths placed on the veteran tombstones, the non-profit needs to raise about $270,000 by the Dec. 9 deadline in order to cover the 18,000 shortfall.
“Unfortunately Arlington is always our hardest to find the donations to cover,” said group’s director, noting that it is because Arlington is a national cemetery and most people want to buy wreaths to honor veterans buried locally.
“They haven’t been embraced by the community of Arlington,” added Worcester, referring to the veterans, “so they are kind of like the forgotten. There are people buried at Arlington from every state in the country.”
The 18,000 wreath deficit got even smaller after Worcester came on Breitbart News Daily, noted Tobin Slaven, a spokesman for the organization, adding, “The spike in traffic actually took down our website temporarily.”
The organization’s official web site, where donations can be made, crashed temporarily moments after Worcester came on the Breitbart News Daily show. Two manufacturers called the show, saying they donated $100 each to the organization and challenged their compatriots running manufacturing businesses to do the same.
Keith Darlington, a Pennsylvania resident who served in the Army and the Coast Guard, took on the challenge and donated another $100, telling Breitbart News he felt compelled to honor his fellow veterans.
On the second or third Saturday of every December — National Wreaths Across America Day — the organization takes it upon itself to coordinate wreath laying ceremonies at over 1,000 veteran cemeteries and other sacred locations across the United States and 24 locations on foreign soil in honor and remembrance of the nation’s fallen heroes.
The last day to donate money for local cemeteries is today at the end of business.
Wreaths Across America’s mission is to honor those who serve, remember the fallen heroes, and teach children about the sacrifices made by veterans and their families to keep America safe and preserve the freedoms it provide.
This year National Wreaths Across America Day falls on Dec. 12.
The non-profit predicts that over 800,000 volunteers will gather at veterans cemeteries and other sacred locations across all 50 states and beyond to place an estimated 850,000 wreaths in honor of the fallen heroes.