Leanne McCain’s husband, Bryant McCain died in Afghanistan in November 2011. McCain had no idea of Wreaths Across America before the devastating moment in November of 2011. McCain is now a very big supporter or of the organization, who puts wreaths on her husbands gravestone along with all his brothers that died with him on the battlefield before and after him.
“There are so many people who don’t have any family or friends, especially the older veterans,” said McCain, of San Antonio, Texas. “For them to get a wreath at Christmas is incredible.”
With all the donations given this year Wreaths Across America will be able to cover almost half of the graves in Arlington Cemetery. Two weeks ago the group Wreaths Across America only had enough money for 95,000 wreaths at Arlington, far short of its goal of 135,000, said Amber Caron, Wreaths Across America spokeswoman.But news stories about the wreath shortage caused a flood of late donations.
“We ended up with more than our goal at Arlington, placing a little more than 143,000 wreaths there today,” Caron said Saturday. About 25,000 people braved the cold to participate, she said.”
The tradition started in 1992, when the company donated 5,000 wreaths. Caron said many people don’t realize the program is funded by donations, not the government.
Last year, more than 400,000 wreaths were donated — 100,000 to Arlington alone — and placed at cemeteries in all 50 states. This year about 540,000 wreaths were placed nationwide, Caron said.