Thank you for volunteering with the Arlington National Cemetery's annual Wreaths Across America program.
Founded in 1864, Arlington National Cemetery is our nation’s premier military cemetery with over 400,000 gravesites spread across 624 acres.
Since 1992, and now in its 26th 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.
There are no tickets for this event - just show up. Pre-registration, while not required, will allow you to receive event updates via email and allow us to know how many people to expect.
Arlington Wreaths Event - Important Details!
Meetup with us at any of the 3 different meeting times and locations listed below, and throughout the day look for people wearing Meetup stickers, which we'll hand out. You are also welcome to participate on your own.
7:00 AM: Metro rail opens (system wide).
7:00 AM: Security screening process will being at the Arlington National Cemetery Welcome Center.
7:30 AM - 7:45: Our 1st optional meeting site - beyond the security checkpoint and outside of the ANC Welcome Center. If you want to be part of Washington, DC History & Culture team we strongly recommend meeting us here as otherwise you may end up not being able to locate us and thus volunteering on your own.
7:45 AM: Wreaths Across America truck convoys arrive at the cemetery. Our 2nd optional/potential meeting site - unless crowds prevent us from staying here.
8:15 AM: Opening Ceremony at the Women In Military Service for America Memorial. Our 3rd optional/potential meeting site unless crowds prevent us from staying here.
8:30 AM: All gates into the cemetery grounds will be opened to the general public.
8:25 AM - 9:00 AM: Our Washington, DC History & Culture team will walk to our volunteer site, most likely somewhere south of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, in the southwest portion of the cemetery. We'll determine the exact location we're placing wreaths once we get on site the morning of as we'll volunteer where needed. The entire cemetery needs volunteer so feel free to help out anywhere.
9:15 AM: Wreath Placement will begin!
10:00 AM: Columbarium Special Wreath Laying (optional event).
10:30 AM: President William F. Taft Monument Special Wreath Laying (Section 30 optional event).
11:00 AM: President John F. Kennedy Memorial Special Wreath Laying (Section 45 optional event).
11:30 AM: USS Battleship Maine Monument Special Wreath Laying (Section 24 optional event).
12:00 PM: Formal Wreath Ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns (optional event).
TBD: Wreath laying completed - not sure how long it will take - depends on the number of volunteers. Also, due to the size of the cemetery and the number of volunteers, different sections will finish at different times. You are free to arrive and depart whenever you like. Afterwards you are welcome to join us for lunch and socializing at the Pentagon City Mall food court - look for people with Meetup stickers.
Event Information - Please Read Carefully!
Registration: This event is open to the public and all are welcome including children and groups (but not non-service animals). No tickets are required, just show up. Pre-registration, while not required, will allow volunteers to receive event updates via email and allow us to know how many people to expect. If you are arriving as part of a group there is no need for every member of your group to register with us, although they are welcome to do so in order to receive event updates. Participants are welcome to volunteer with our "Washington, DC History & Culture" organization, or on their own, as we are just posting this event info as a public-service type announcement.
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. To make a donation please visit the following web link: http://www.wreathsacrossamerica.org/#join-us
Weather: This event will take place in all but extreme weather conditions (e.g. a blizzard). If it’s on the calendar, then we’re proceeding as scheduled. The current weather forecast is for cold temperatures - please dress accordingly.
Parking: 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: We highly encourage Metro use, as parking within the cemetery itself will be very restricted. 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, we will have multiple gates 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.
SERVICE ADVISORY from Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority: Orange Line trains will continuously single track between West Falls Church and East Falls Church from November 28 through December 21, 2017. Orange Line trains will run every 16 minutes between Vienna and New Carrollton. Additional Orange Line trains will run from East Falls Church to New Carrollton. Silver Line trains will run every 16 minutes. Expect crowding on Orange/Silver line trains. Orange/Silver customers should consider alternate travel options and travel outside of rush-hour periods if possible. Metro will run free shuttle buses from Pentagon to Arlington Cemetery to help with the lines at Arlington Cemetery station. They will operate from 8am-1:30pm. LEARN MORE
Security: Due to the potentially high number of volunteers that may be present and for safety reasons and concerns, ANC officials have implemented some increased security requirements and screening which will be in effect on Wreath Day. You can expect random bag inspections and other related security screening to occur. It is suggested that you leave any large bags, knapsacks, etc, at home or in your vehicles. In addition, food and drinks are not allowed on cemetery grounds. (Bottled water is okay.)
Meeting Points & Times: See our event schedule.
Wreath Truck Convoy: For those wanting to observe the arrival of the Wreath Truck Convoy of over 60 trucks, which will arrive at approximately 7:45am on Saturday, ANC will begin their screening process at 7:00am at the ANC Welcome Center. Those screened early will be directed to holding areas near the Opening Ceremony location which will be held in front of the Women In Military Service for America Memorial at the end of Memorial Drive starting at 8:15am. All gates into Arlington Cemetery grounds will be opened to the general public at 8:30am after all 60+ Wreaths Convoy Trucks have been staged. Wreath placement will begin at 9:15am.
Section We Will Be Placing Wreaths In: TBD - will decide the day and go wherever we're needed.
Placing a Wreath at a Specific Grave Site: We expect tens of thousands of volunteers on Wreath Day and it would be impossible to "save" a particular grave site for a person to place a wreath. Our best suggestion would be for you to bring a friend or relative with you to Arlington. The Cemetery will be open to the Public at 8:30am and wreath placement will start at 9:15am. Prior to 9:15am, have the person with you go directly to your interested grave site to stand by the site. Then you go to the closest wreath truck for that section to await receiving a wreath. Should another volunteer come up to place a wreath on that site, the person standing by the site could request the volunteer to move to another grave as you will be bringing a wreath for that site. That's the best we can do. Please note ANC officials request that only one wreath be placed on each marker as in those instances of dual burials, the remains are placed on the front side of the marker.
Wreath Laying Protocol: The wreaths are placed ribbon up-ward. Also, the ANC cemetery officials, out of respect and understanding of the beliefs and traditions of the Jewish Faith, have asked that volunteers be advised to not place a Remembrance Wreath on any marker which has the Jewish Religious symbol of the Star of David on it. However, we ask that you still pause, read and say the name of that veteran to thank them for their service and sacrifices. If you do see a Jewish marker with a wreath on it, assume that a family member placed it there and do not remove it. The wreaths sponsored, donated and delivered to Arlington National Cemetery become "government property" once they arrive into the cemetery. They are NOT TO BE REMOVED from the cemetery for placement at any other location. As this is a cemetery appropriate behavior is expected at all times.
Post-Event Lunch: Optional lunch afterwards at the Pentagon City Mall food court.
Wreath Retrieval/Clean-Up Day: Join us on Saturday, January 20, 2018 for Wreath Retrieval/Clean-up Day! Additional details to follow.
Additional Questions: Please read the event description before asking questions. Anything that can’t be answered by the above event description, Google, or common sense please let us know. Unfortunately, we will not respond to communications from those 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.). Please read the event description carefully before asking unnecessary questions.