It's Not Just an Event in December
The Wreaths Across America mission to remember, honor, and teach is a mindset. That’s becoming more and more evident as volunteers across this great nation step up to honor our active- duty military, veterans, and their families. During the week of September 23, 2019, alone, Wreaths Across America was honored to participate in special events in Virginia, New Jersey, and Texas.
Freightliner Trucks hosted a fundraising reception at the George Washington Masonic National Memorial in Alexandria, Virginia in support of Special Forces Charitable Trust and Wreaths Across America. The keynote address was delivered by a decorated combat veteran, Pete Hegseth. Hegseth has deployed three times since 9/11, most recently returning from Afghanistan where he was the senior counterinsurgency instructor at the Counterinsurgency Training Center in Kabul from 2011-2012. Hegseth previously served in Iraq with the 3rd Brigade of the 101st Airborne Division for their 2005-2006 deployment, serving as an Infantry Platoon Leader in Baghdad in 2005, and as a Civil-Military Operations officer in Samarra in 2006. He also served in Guantanamo Bay for a year guarding detainees. Hegseth holds two Bronze Stars and a Combat Infantryman's Badge for his time in Iraq and Afghanistan. Hegseth graduated from Princeton University in 2003 with a degree in Politics and completed a Master’s in Public Policy at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government in 2013. Today, Pete is an author and Co-Host of Fox & Friends Weekend. “I do think the tagline for Wreaths, of remember, honor, and teach should be the tagline of our country, truly,” Pete shared with the attendees. “Remember why America is special, why freedom is precious and rare, and what is required to keep it.”
Gold Star Wife, Tabitha Farmer, also attended the Wednesday evening event. She lost her husband, Chief Warrant Officer Jonathan Farmer in a suicide bombing attack in Syria in January. She shared the demanding responsibilities of a special forces’ wife. “Communications is important in marriage but can be tricky in a special forces marriage. How do you communicate with someone who’s always gone? Especially, when he can’t tell you exactly where he is, who he’s with, or when he’s coming back. To put it simply you don’t ask those questions. You ask, what did they eat, did they have a good day and then you bombard them with the craziness of the kids and all the things that are going on. John always wanted to hear about the silly things the twins were doing, how the bigger kids were doing in school, and what I was volunteering for that night. John was an amazing husband, and the love we shared was that of fairytales. We had an agreement early on in our marriage that we would always put God first, then us, and then the children building an indestructible bond, and we would be a team that would withstand all. Now I have to withstand all with John forever watching over me and our children. This is the strength that I need to be an SF wife. To be strong in the worst possible moment. To be strong, even when you’re dying inside.”
The next day, the Wreaths Across America Mobile Education Exhibit (MEE) spent the day in Wayne, New Jersey at the Passaic County Technical Institute where patriotism and respect are fostered. Every school day starts with the Pledge of Allegiance and the National Anthem. As many as 525 students, faculty and staff, and area veterans toured MEE and made veterans’ wreaths. Cathy Pagano is the President of the VFW Ladies Auxiliary, Unit 238 and PCTI’s Patriotic Consultant. “I’m so thrilled that our school could bring the trailer here to our school,” Cathy expressed. “I’m excited the students can see all these things and learn what sacrifices have been made for them and to understand that our country is built on those sacrifices and how important it is that we as a nation never forget that.”
Meanwhile, in Texas, Wreaths Across America’s Executive Director Karen Worcester gave the keynote address at the Wreaths Across America Ft. Sam Houston National Cemetery Gala. “It’s like charity begins at home, well patriotism begins at home. It starts at home, and then it goes to communities like this, and then it goes to the country,” Karen expressed. “I know that it might look dismal right now, but I honestly believe as I see Wreaths Across America grow to 1,700 locations this year, we will place 2. 1 million wreaths. Not because of what we do at Wreath Across America, but because of what people like you do. 2.1 million names will be spoken on Wreaths Across America Day and that’s powerful stuff. Raise those voices up and introduce these names to your children and your neighbors…we need to remember their courage, their sacrifices, the history and we need to instill it in our children. We need to be able to be proud to be Americans because those who went before us and gave us this right deserve to be acknowledge, and this precious gift they gave us needs to be taken care of for generations to come.”
Wreaths Across America is driven by citizens like those in Virginia, New Jersey, Texas and other states who work hard every day to show their respect and gratitude by supporting the mission to remember, honor and teach.
You can hear more about these incredible events and learn more about all activities leading up to National Wreaths Across America Day, Saturday, December 14, 2019 on Wreaths Across America Radio.