Wreaths Across America aims to honor every laid-to-rest veteran at the holidays with a wreath or a rock and the out-loud pronouncement of their name. The program began in 1992, when a wreath manufacturing family in Maine found themselves with a seasonal surplus. Shortly thereafter, they drove through the night to place their wreaths at Arlington National Cemetery. Their spontaneous goodwill inspired others and the initiative continued to grow through this year, when it expanded for the first time ever, internationally, to Normandy.
This year, the second year HKSDC has sponsored support for the initiative, a complete downpour proved no match for the 70+ HKS alumni who RSVP'd to assist. In fact, their response was triple what we received from our community last year.
Indeed, the cold and wet weather did nothing to dampen the warm connection we derived from the experience. We were fortunate to demonstrate the incontrovertible fact that, even within our current divided political environment HKS DC alumni remain united in service.
On Saturday, it was impossible to walk among the hundreds of thousands of graves without contemplating the significance of our freedom. The meaning of these veterans' sacrifice is what remained in sharpest focus as we knelt to place our wreaths. As we set our eyes on each headstone and read names out loud, bonds were formed, if only momentarily, between those above the ground and those below.
After we took a picture with other participating universities, then placed our wreaths throughout Arlington, about twenty of us reconvened at the Bonefish Grill in Pentagon City with soggy clothes and wet hair... and the warmth of a good deed done. There, in this season of giving, having raised our wreaths, we raised our glasses to all those who gave some and some of those who gave all.
Many thanks to all who participated and the happiest of holidays to all from your friends in the HKSDC community.