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Here’s how to honor America’s veterans during Wreaths Across America Day

Wreaths Across America at Arlington National Cemetery, Dec. 17, 2016.

JOE GROMELSKI/STARS AND STRIPES

By STAFF AND WIRE REPORTS Published: December 14, 2017

More than 1,200 sites across the U.S. will hold Wreaths Across America programs on Saturday to honor the memories of military veterans.

Keeping in mind Wreaths Across America's saying, "A person dies twice: once when they take their final breath and later, the last time their name is spoken," volunteers will say each veteran's name aloud as they hang wreaths at graves.

In 1992 at Arlington National Cemetery, the family of Maine wreath maker Morrill Worcester donated 5,000 wreaths after their business had a seasonal surplus. The Worcesters continued the tradition, interest grew through the years, programs were held at more locations, and Wreaths Across America became a nonprofit organization in 2007.

This year, there will be more than 200,000 wreaths placed at Arlington alone. A total of 1.2 million wreaths will be placed on markers across the country in 1,238 locations.

Donna Parker, mother of Marine Sgt. Eli Parker, who was killed in Iraq a decade ago, attended last year's event at Arlington National Cemetery.

“As Gold Star parents, our greatest fear is that our son will be forgotten over time,” Parker told Stars and Stripes during the 2016 event. “That was important, to know that somebody else was saying his name.”

There is no sign-up or registration required for the public to participate in programs. Find information on locations at www.wreathsacrossamerica.org.

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A man pauses at a grave in Section 60 during Wreaths Across America in Arlington National Cemetery on Dec. 17, 2016.
MEREDITH TIBBETTS/STARS AND STRIPES

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