'Be their witness:' Wreaths Across America unveils new 2018 theme

Matt Saintsing
February 27, 2018 - 12:04 pm

Each year, millions of Americans gather in their local communities to remember the fallen, honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice and their families, and teach the next generation about the price of freedom.

And while it’s only February, Wreaths Across America unveiled their new theme for 2018: Be Their Witness.

The inspiration for this year’s theme is based on the 2009 drama “Taking Chance,” which chronicles the tale of U.S. Marine Lt. Colonel Michael Strobl, who escorted the body of PFC Chance Phelps from the battlefield in Iraq to his hometown in Wyoming.

"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.

Last year, volunteers participated in wreath-laying ceremonies at over 1,400 local and national cemeteries throughout the nation as part of National Wreaths Across America Day.

“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."

Be sure to mark Saturday, Dec. 15, 2018 on your calendars this year. That’s when millions of volunteers will once again, as they do every year, continue the mission to remember, honor, and teach.

"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,” Worcester continued.

“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.”

More than 1.5 million wreaths were places on veteran headstones at more than 1,400 participating cemeteries nationwide. And, it’s not just another blanket event that thanks veterans for their service. Instead each name is spoken out loud as a way to honor the service and sacrifices each veteran has made.

Click here to find out how you can be their witness this year.