Indiantown Gap National Cemetery needs donations so every soldier’s grave has a wreath this December

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

LEBANON COUNTY, Pa. -- Each year, Wreaths Across America volunteers attempt to lay wreaths on every grave at Indiantown Gap National Cemetery.

That tradition is in jeopardy as donations are still desperately needed, and there's only one week left to give.

You can sponsor a wreath until December 1 - that's next Friday. You can designate the wreath to a specific person at Indiantown Gap or just donate to the fund. You can also volunteer to wreath lay or help at the ceremony, set for December 16th.

It costs $15.00, but loved ones say the wreath is worth much more than cash. It helps remember and honor those who sacrificed so much to keep us free.

39,000 graves, and each tells a story.

For Lois Walborn of Lancaster County, it's a tale of her father's bravery when he fought overseas during World War II. Each December, she visits his burial site and takes part in the annual ceremony and wreath laying.

"Having family members here, it's heartwarming, humbling to know that people are taking time to recognize what our soldiers have done for us," said Walborn.

For this year's ceremony, officials with Wreaths Across America say they need 25,000 more donations to have a wreath for every grave. A sponsorship of $15.00 ensures no grave goes bare, and more importantly, no life goes forgotten during the holidays.

"It's kind of like going into someone's house and you see the Christmas tree all decorated, and from that, you think you understand what Christmas is all about.... Wreaths Across America is the same way," said Floyd Turner, a volunteer and the Master of Ceremonies for Wreaths Across America. "There's so much more to the process, the ceremony, everything than just the wreaths."

"To me, it is that you don't want loved ones to be forgotten, and you know, some don't have relatives living close by. You know, I live an hour away, I can come up here, but there's many people that live further away," added Walborn.

Soldiers, spouses, and even some children are buried here, and officials say it's important each of their lives is honored. For Walborn, it makes all the difference.

"Just to have somebody take the time and put a wreath on the grave and take a moment of silence and just say thank you for their service, that means a lot," she said.

Editor's note: The date for sponsoring a wreath has been changed from November 27 to December 1.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.