There is a group based in Columbia Falls, Maine, that ships out evergreen wreaths each December to be laid on the graves at veterans cemeteries across America. Wreaths Across America volunteers go out on the specified Saturday (this year, Dec. 17th) and set them out. Costs are covered by purchasers who pay $15 per wreath, typically to be laid on the grave of a total stranger who served his or her country, though some cemeteries do accept personalized requests. Local groups can also participate in selling the wreaths and in return get a cut, about $5, for their own worthy cause. As an example, the Margaret Warner Wood Detached Tent #1, Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War, an Arizona group (full disclosure: I am currently Tent President) is taking part and will put the funds it raises toward the Grand Army of the Republic Living Memorial Scholarship Fund. If you would like to check this out and volunteer to place wreaths or purchase a wreath (Margaret Warner Wood's Group ID# is AZ0057P, if you'd care to send part of your $15 our way) you can contact WAA at www.wreathsacrossamerica.org/. The deadline for purchasing at 2016 wreath is Monday, Nov. 28th. You can also attend their Arlington Cemetery event, visit their museum in Maine, volunteer to drive wreaths if you own an 18-wheeler, sign up to be a location coordinator or add a cemetery near you to the list of those that get the wreaths. And please join me and others in setting out these wreaths to honor our departed military and veterans on Dec. 17. I will look for you at the National Memorial Cemetery of Arizona in Phoenix.
Dr. Maura Mackowski is an Arizona research historian who enjoys the challenge of looking for Mayflower descendants, hers and anyone else's.
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