DALLAS (1080 KRLD) – This year, it looks like there won’t be enough holiday wreath donations to honor every veteran buried in the Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery.
Chris and Mary Bush launched the local Wreaths Across America chapter in 2009, the same year their son - soldier Cpl. Peter Courcy of Frisco - was killed in action in Afghanistan.
Every year since, they’ve had the same goal: To raise enough holiday wreaths to honor every veteran buried in the DFW National Cemetery.
Last year, for the first time, they reached that goal. This year … they’re far from it.
“We have not gotten close to our goal,” Bush says. “This year, we’re currently at about 25,000 donations. We’re hoping for about 46,000.”
The deadline to donate was originally Nov. 30, but Wreaths Across America is extending it through Dec. 1.
Bush says he believes many things are contributing to the low number of donations. 2020 is a difficult year for a lot of people, he says. He says some people also seem to be confused about whether the annual wreath laying tradition will still take place. It will, Bush says, even though the ceremony that usually precedes it will not.
“I think the issue is definitely COVID,” Bush says. “We’re still trying to get the word out that we are moving forward with the wreath laying.”
Bush says some people seem to think the holiday wreaths are provided by the government. He says that’s not the case-- the annual tradition depends entirely on donations from the community.
Wreaths are $15 each. For every two wreaths donated a third will be added to the donation. Wreaths can be donated online at honordfw.com. You can also donate via phone by texting "WREATH1" to 20222.
All donated wreaths are fresh and will be placed on the headstones by volunteers and family.
Family can lay wreaths Dec. 16 and 17 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. each day. The general public will be allowed to lay wreaths on Dec. 19 beginning at 11 a.m.
Volunteers are required to wear masks and follow social distancing protocols.
Anyone with questions is encouraged to reach out to the local chapter of Wreaths Across America at 972-668-2874.