Local Nonprofit Seeks to Place Wreaths on 5,000 Veterans Headstones in December

How many generations is a military hero honored before his or her memory slips from mind? Currently it’s about three generations, and that’s a trend that a local nonprofit seeks to end.

The Veterans Memorial Wreath Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit established for the purpose of placing a wreath on the headstone of each fallen hero at Evergreen Washelli Cemetery in Seattle each December. Washelli is often monikered “the Arlington of the West” due to the rows marble headstones standing at attention. There are over 5,000 of fallen heroes buried here, including seven Medal of Honor recipients. This effort is part of the larger Wreaths Across America program, which places 1.5 million wreaths annually at more than 1,400 locations in the U.S. and its territories.

VMWF is raising funds to help ensure each headstone is adorned with a wreath, and seeks the community’s help.

“The cost to adorn one headstone with a wreath is lower than to buy one for your own front door,” said VMWF President and Founder Lorraine Zimmerman. “The impact in doing so lasts a lifetime and extends generations as we teach our children to honor our veterans.”

The cost of each wreath is only $15 each, with a portion going to VMWF’s Scholarship Foundation for military dependents. Donations can be made online at www.vmwf.org/give or by mailing a check made out to VWMF to PO Box 1611, Marysville, WA 98270.

Zimmerman also encourages people to participate in this year’s wreath-placing event, which takes place on Dec. 14 beginning at 9 a.m. at Veterans Memorial Park at Evergreen Washelli Cemetery, 11220 Aurora Ave N in Seattle. The military event is free and open to the public, and includes an informal reception immediately following.

“It is profoundly moving to place a wreath on a veteran’s headstone, speak their name out loud, and honor their service,” said Zimmerman. “We will always remember their service and their sacrifices.”

The annual event honors all branches of the military, including the Coast Guard, Merchant Marines and POWs/MIAs. It includes a color guard presenting the colors, an invocation, special remarks, and a ceremonial wreath dedication where a person representing each branch of the military in dress uniform adorns a wreath that represents their branch of the military. The ceremony concludes with a bugler playing “Taps” and a 21-gun salute. Following the ceremony, the public is welcomed to help distribute wreaths on headstones. Those placing the wreaths are encouraged to state the name of the person on whose headstone the wreath is lain to help keep their memory alive.

For more information about Veterans Memorial Wreath Foundation, visit www.vmwf.org.

Wreaths placed at Evergreen-Washelli Memorial Park