ST. LOUIS COUNTY, MO - Thousands of holiday wreaths will be placed at Jefferson Barracks National Ceremony in south St. Louis County next month as volunteers pay tribute to American heroes. Event organizers are putting out the call for more sponsors and volunteers.
'Tis the season to remember, honor, and teach. Wreaths Across America aims to remember and honor veterans through the laying of remembrance wreaths on the graves of fallen heroes and saying the name of each veteran aloud.
"There is a name, and there was a person, and a life behind that name, and when you go out there and read the names, you think of what that person did in their life and who they left behind," said Janelle Eveld with Gateway Blue Star Mothers.
Volunteers hope to teach future generations about the value of freedom so they too can honor and remember.
Gateway Blue Star Mothers is a group of women who all have adult children serving in the military. Member Kathy Schulte said the group offers support and services to veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder, homeless veterans, Gold Star Mothers, Gold Star Children, and others connected to military life.
Schulte's son has been serving in the Army for 12 years, one son-in-law is also serving in the Army, and a second son-in-law is an Army veteran. One of Eveld's sons has been an airman since 2013 and the other has been a sailor since 2010.
The annual wreath-laying is special to Schulte and Eveld because both women also have relatives buried at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery.
Schulte, Eveld and the other Gateway Blue Star Mothers have set big goals for this year's Wreaths Across America.
In 2018, more than 11,000 wreaths were sponsored and nearly 30,000 placed on tombstones at the cemetery. This year, they hope to get sponsorship for 50,000 wreaths.
By Tuesday evening (Nov. 19.), 4,700 wreaths were sponsored with just a few weeks to go. Sponsorship begins at $15 per wreath and is considered a tax-exempt donation.
The nationwide event will be held on Saturday, December 14th. Those wishing to attend the ceremony and/or volunteer are asked to meet at the Old Flag Circle at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery by 11 a.m. All are welcome. No registration is necessary.
Sponsorship may also be sent to:
Wreaths Across America
c/o Gateway Blue Star Mothers
P.O. Box 531
St. Charles, MO 63302