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, community organizations, non-Meetup members, etc.
Meetup with us at any of the 4 different meeting times and locations listed below, and throughout the day look for people wearing Meetup stickers, which we'll hand out .......
7:00AM: Metro rail opens (system-wide)
7:45-8:00AM: 1st optional meeting site - join us outside the Arlington National Cemetery gates.
8:00AM: Arlington National Cemetery Gates open
8:00 - 8:15/8:30AM: 2nd optional meeting site - join us inside the Visitor/Welcome Center. You'll need to pass through a security screening. They have restrooms, drinking fountains and exhibits. We'll stay tentatively inside until the trucks arrive or 8:15/8:30, whichever comes first. However, we may have to exit the building if it gets too crowded inside.
8:15-8:30AM: Wreaths Across America Truck Convoy arrives Arlington Cemetery Main Gate (time is approximate).
8:15/8:30-9:00AM: 3rd optional meeting site, join us outside, just beyond the Visitor/Welcome Center, on the way to the cemetery grounds (i.e. you will need to enter the building and pass through security to be able to exit again on the opposite side).
9:00-9:30AM: Walk one-half mile from the Visitor Center to the McClellan Gate. We’ll arrive at the McClellan Gate at approximately 9:15, well before the start of the opening ceremonies and socialize, take pictures, etc. and stay until approximately 9:40. If you are meeting us here look for Robert Kelleman and/or a group of people wearing Meetup stickers on their coats, which we’ll hand out.
9:30AM: Wreaths Across America Opening Ceremony (McClellan Gate). This will be our 4th and final optional meeting site. If you arrive after this, then just volunteer anywhere within the cemetery as it will be too hard to meetup with us elsewhere.
9:40AM: The Washington, DC History & Culture team will need to leave the dedication ceremony early (at 9:40) in order order to reach our volunteer location by 10:00. We will walk from the McClellan Gate to our volunteer site somewhere south of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, within the southwest portion of the cemetery. We'll determine the exact spot we're placing wreaths that morning as we'll volunteer wherever we're needed most.
10:00AM: Wreath laying begins across cemetery
TBD: Wreath laying completed - not sure how long it will take - depends on the number of volunteers. Afterwards you are welcome to join us for lunch and socializing at the Pentagon City Mall food court.
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). 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. People are welcome to volunteer with us, 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.
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: 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, multiple gates will be 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.
Security: Arlington officials have increased cemetery access security which will be in effect on Wreath Day. Expect random bag inspections and other related increased security screening to happen much as those that occur at major sports events and stadiums. We suggest you leave large bags, knapsacks, etc., at home or in your vehicle. In addition, food and drinks are not allowed on cemetery grounds. (bottled water is okay.)
Meeting Points & Times: See our event schedule.
Section Will Be Placing Wreaths In: TBD - will be posted a few days beforehand.
Placing a Wreath at a Specific Grave Site: You are welcome to do so. However, please arrive as early as possible, otherwise the gravesite may have already received a wreath by another volunteer.
Wreath Laying Protocol: The wreaths are placed ribbon up-ward. Also, as this is a cemetery appropriate behavior is expected at all times.
Post-Event: Optional lunch afterwards at the Pentagon City Mall food court.
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 me 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.
This event is hosted by Washington, DC History & Culture