Fri, 22 Mar 2019

Thousands Volunteer to Lay Wreaths at Arlington Cemetery

Voice of America
16 Dec 2018, 09:05 GMT+10

Thousands of volunteers braved the rain Saturday for the annual holiday tradition of placing wreaths at the more than quarter-million headstones at Arlington National Cemetery outside Washington.

The event, to honor soldiers who served and died for the country, is planned and coordinated by a group called Wreaths Across America. The organization provides wreaths for individuals and groups to place on graves in more than 1,400 locations in the U.S., including the Arlington cemetery, and abroad.

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'In many homes, there is an empty seat for one who is serving or one who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. There is no better time to express our appreciation than during the hustle and bustle of the holiday season,' the organization's website said.

The wreaths come from the Worcester Wreath Co. of Harrington, Maine.

About 2:15 p.m., President Donald Trump arrived at the scene, and he walked with soldiers and a guide, viewing the work that had already been completed. He said the volunteers 'do a great job.'

The president's visit took place on a gray and rainy day, with conditions not unlike those at the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery east of Paris, which Trump was set to visit in early November before canceling.

For the event at Arlington, which began at 8 a.m. Saturday, people travel from states near and far to help place the wreaths at each gravesite. The wreaths remain through the year-end holidays, and another coordinated event occurs in January, when volunteers and U.S. troops remove the wreaths.

'Last year, we had over 90,000 folks volunteer, visiting our hallowed grounds to participate in laying wreaths on the final resting place of more than 260,000 service members, veterans and their families,'MichealMigliara, Arlington National Cemetery director of operations, told WTOP news.

Health care

While at Arlington, reporters asked Trump about a Texas court ruling released Friday night that found the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare, unconstitutional.

'It was a big ruling, a great ruling for our country. We'll be able to get great health care. We'll sit down with the Democrats if the Supreme Court upholds,' he said. 'Let's say repeal and replace handled a little bit differently.'

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