Every year, the nation celebrates its birthday in July on Independence Day with the usual colorful flair, pageantry, and noise makers. In community parades, bar-b-ques, and family picnics there's a renewed sense of patriotism and pride in the "land of the free and home of the brave." Then for most, when the long holiday weekend comes to a close it's back to the daily routine.

At Wreaths Across America, our mission to remember the fallen, honor those who serve and their families and teach younger generations the value of freedom is our daily routine. It's a mindset and every day we encourage citizens to remember the lives and contributions of our fallen heroes and to honor their memories and sacrifices. In sharing their stories of courage and valor, we teach how our nation was formed and defended, and how we've defended others from tyranny and oppression.

The "Christmas in July" theme is frequently used in marketing campaigns as retailers start encouraging consumers to transition their thoughts from swimsuits and sunblock to back-to- school and the approaching holidays.

"Christmas in July" for Wreaths Across America, however, is a phrase that reminds us of all our deployed men and women who will not be home for the holidays. We think of, and pay tribute to, those who never returned at all from the battlefield and the lives that were forever altered by their loss.

Whether it was the during Battle of the Bulge in World II, the jungles of Vietnam, the 38th Parallel in Korea, or the deserts of Iraq or Afghanistan our troops have missed the joyous family celebrations and peaceful times marked by the holidays.

Thinking about Christmas during July provides us with the perfect opportunity to encourage others to get involved with our mission by sharing the stories of their hometown heroes while explaining, however, to those not familiar we're not "decorating graves."

Wreaths Across America is inclusive and not affiliated with any religion. That’s why the fresh, evergreen, circular wreath with a red bow that people across this nation sponsor every year is not a Christmas decoration rather a symbol of America’s eternal love and respect for our fallen heroes.

The reality is, however, it’s during the holidays that our deployed servicemen and women miss home the most and there are empty seats at family gatherings. It’s during the holidays that the heartache of losing a loved one seems the most profound. It's generally during the holidays when conflict and strife are replaced by charity and goodwill toward one another.

Families tell us the circular evergreen remembrance wreath sends them an emotional and uplifting statement of respect and gratitude on National Wreaths Across America Day in December that they hold dear throughout the year.




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