Wreaths Across America lays wreaths at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery

Wreaths Across America laid 43,000 wreaths at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery on Saturday and read the names of 150,000 veterans.

Battling cold and rain, an army of thousands of volunteers honored the veterans at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery on Saturday.

They came armed with more than 43,000 wreaths to decorate graves for the holidays as part of the Wreaths Across America campaign.

What started in 2008 with just a few hundred people has grown into a national movement with more than 1,000 sites.

With color guards and choral groups, grizzled veterans and babies in arms joined together to lay wreaths and say the name of each and every veteran.

All told, more than 150,000 names were read.   

"We all are here because we have lost a loved one that is laid to rest at Fort Sam, and let's just take a minute just to say thank you for your service,” organizer Judy Carlile said.

The motto of the program is simple: Remember. Honor. Teach.

"We were asked to remember them. To be able to remember them, we say their name. We don't ever want anyone to forget that these men and women were so brave for our nation. So Michael Chamness Senior, I speak your name," one volunteer said.

Bea Hoeffner participates every year.

“It fills you with so much pride,” she said. “Unless you are here and experience this, you can't really explain it to people.”

Organizers have an ambitious goal, to one day make sure that each of the 160,000 headstones at Fort Sam Houston spend the holidays wearing a wreath of green that says a grateful nation remembers.

The wreaths will remain in place through mid-January, so there is plenty of time to see the cemetery at its best.

The group will be looking for more volunteers to remove the tributes when the season ends.

To participate, you can visit the group’s official Facebook page here.

© 2018 KENS-TV


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