Volunteers Honor Veterans With Christmas Wreaths At National Cemeteries

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FORT SMITH (KFSM) -- Since 2009, volunteers have been placing Christmas wreaths on each gravestone at the Fort Smith National Cemetery to remember fallen soldiers during the holiday season.

More than 16,000 wreaths are prepared for the event, and organizers need help getting things ready on Friday (Dec. 16).

Volunteers will gather at the Fort Smith Convention Center to help fluff the thousands of wreaths, and decorate them with a bright red bow. Organizers said they're expecting more than 700 volunteers to help prepare the wreaths.

On Saturday (Dec. 17), volunteers are needed to place the wreaths on each of the thousands of headstones, in honor of every man and woman's service to our country.

This year the group behind this event called Christmas Honors has 1,100 new wreaths and 13,000 new bows that were all donated.

The transformation this group does to the national cemetery each year is something very special to the community and its veterans. "Their biggest fear has never been of dying, but of being forgotten. That will never happen here," said Philip Merry, Chairman of Christmas Honors.

Volunteers can volunteer at the Fort Smith Convention Center from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Friday. Then volunteers will lay the wreaths at the Fort Smith National Cemetery on Saturday (Dec. 17). They'll have a ceremony starting at 11 a.m. then at 11:26 a.m. they'll start passing the wreaths out.

In Northwest Arkansas, "Wreaths Across America" will continue on Saturday (Dec. 17) at the Fayetteville National Cemetery. This is the 10th anniversary for the event in Fayetteville. Groups will begin to transport the wreaths to the cemetery at 7 a.m. with the formal ceremony starting at 11 a.m.

Parking will be at Baum Stadium. A shuttle service will be available to and from the cemetery.

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