Weekly Columns

It’s hard not to be in the Christmas spirit when you smell the cookies baking, see the neighborhoods twinkling with lights and find yourself humming the familiar holiday tunes. This season of giving illustrates that we have a lot for which to be thankful. 

During the rush of the season as we check off our long ‘to-do- list’ it can be easy to forget about the men and women who gave us the gift of freedom.  To show appreciation for the people who selflessly sacrificed for our way of life, communities across the country are joining in a new Christmas tradition to pay tribute to these heroes by placing a wreath on the graves of fallen servicemembers and veterans. 

“Wreaths Across America” started at Arlington National Cemetery in 1992 and continues to grow nationwide. Since 2008, Congress has recognized the second Saturday in December as “Wreaths Across America Day.” 

This is a great opportunity to show our gratitude to the men and women who proudly served our nation. I’m proud to support this tradition that honors our veterans, fallen troops and their families. These events in Arkansas and throughout the country are sponsored by individual and corporate donations and there is overwhelming support. This is a testament to the sacrifice of those who wore our nation’s uniform and demonstrates our appreciation for their courage, service and commitment to protecting our nation. 

It’s inspiring to join veterans, families and volunteers, to place the wreaths on the graves. For families, it can be especially difficult knowing that their loved ones can’t celebrate Christmas with them. 

These Christmas symbols transformed cemeteries across the state at the Little Rock, Fort Smith and Fayetteville National Cemeteries and the Arkansas State Veterans Cemetery in North Little Rock, Oaklawn Cemetery in Jonesboro and the State Veterans Cemetery in Birdeye into a truly inspiring holiday scene. 

We commemorated this tribute at the U.S. Capitol with a wreath dedicated to honor the sacrifice of our veterans and remember the men and women who serve in the military will area separated from their families this holiday season. 

Thanks to the generosity and spirit displayed by volunteers, generous contributors and families, we have a fitting honor for our veterans during the Christmas season that demonstrates our appreciation for their courage, service and commitment to protecting our nation. We are helping “Wreaths Across America” accomplish its mission: Remember. Honor. Teach. We will remember and these brave men and women, honor their sacrifice and teach that doing something for the greater good makes the world a better place.