Donations falling short for Arlington holiday wreaths

Dec. 8, 2013 at 10:19 AM
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ARLINGTON, Va., Dec. 8 (UPI) -- There is still time to make a donation to place Christmas wreaths on the Arlington graves of U.S. service members, the leader of a volunteer group said.

Wayne Hanson, board president of Wreaths Across America, said it was likely thousands of headstones at Arlington National Cemetery would go undecorated this holiday season, although the public has another week before Dec. 14 when his group places the wreaths they have.

"We will never forget the people at rest in Arlington," Hanson told CNN. "We want to go forward [with the donations] not backward."

Hanson said Wreaths Across America was still $500,000 short of its fundraising goal this weekend. That translates to about 35,000 fewer wreaths for Arlington.

The group has been placing wreaths at military cemeteries since 1992. Last year, they covered about one-third of the graves at the cemetery outside Washington.

Hanson said it was likely donors were sending some of their resources to other national cemeteries, which was admirable, but he hoped there would be a late rush of contributions earmarked for Arlington due to the cemetery's symbolism.

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