Saturday more than five-thousand volunteers are expected to descend on Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery to honor the veterans there as part of the Wreaths Across America campaign.
They will place wreaths on many graves and read aloud the name of every veteran, as a solemn remembrance.
Friday, a smaller cadre of caring people gathered to help offload ten big rigs full of beautiful, fresh-smelling holiday decorations.
Josephine Hofmeister brought her granddaughter for the fourth year in a row.
"I work six days a week, 12-hour shifts. I work two different jobs. Friday is my only day off, and look where I'm at!" she said, laughing. "I was so happy it was on a Friday."
Hofmeister said she participates to honor the many members of her family that have served in the military.
“My Dad was in Korea and my husband was in Vietnam,” Hofmeister said, but she said she considers everyone who participates in the program a member of her extended family.
"Oh I love it! I love San Antonio because we are such a good military family here. I mean it's Military USA, 100 percent and whether I know their names are not, they are family."
Her granddaughter Destanie Delgado said she was delighted to invest her birthday in this heart-warming service.
Handing over a cash donation to organizers, Delgado said: "Me and my grandma wanted you to start early for next year."
Delgado said she wants to make sure the tradition is carried forward into the future.
"So when I have kids I can bring them here and do this too!" Delgado said.
Organizer Judy Carlile watched the frenetic activity and was overcome with emotion.
“This whole program thrills my heart because we have more people to help us unload, we have more wreaths this year and we have ten tractor-trailers. How amazing can it get?” Carlile said.
Carlile said she considers every year a blessing, but this year has been especially good.
“We've had a lot of surprises this year. We've had people that have been so generous and so kind and so amazing that it has been breathtaking. It truly has been breathtaking, that people truly care about our fallen.” Carlile said.
Fighting back tears, Carlile said “It's Christmas! That's what this is all about, it's to honor our fallen at Christmas time, and we're all united as one together because we've all lost someone that we love that is near and dear to our heart and we're all here at Christmas time to be able to love each other and share because our hearts are the same.”
A solemn memorial service will take place at 11 am, followed by the placing of the wreaths.
Organizers said there are traffic concerns near the cemetery so they are encouraging all the volunteers to arrive by 9 am.
More information can be found on the group's Facebook page.
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