Arlington National Cemetery Emphasizes Safety at Annual Wreaths Out Event

Thousands expected to participate in the respectful removal of wreaths

Arlington National Cemetery will be holding Wreaths Across America’s clean-up day, commonly known as Wreaths Out, Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018, beginning at 8 a.m.

Thousands of visitors are expected to help remove the more than 245,000 wreaths placed Dec. 16, 2017 by more than 75,000 volunteers. The high volume of visitors may create traffic congestion and delays on nearby streets and at the cemetery’s entrances.

“This is a day where the wreaths so solemnly placed on the headstones of our nation’s fallen service members and their families will be respectfully removed by volunteers,” said Superintendent of Arlington National Cemetery Katharine Kelley. “Our primary concern on this special day is the safety of those who join us in taking part in this important tradition.”

The Metro opens at 7 a.m. system-wide and is the recommended method of transportation for volunteers and visitors. The parking garage will be reserved for visitors with family passes and those with a handicapped placard. Due to the thousands of volunteers expected, family pass holders will not be able to drive onto the cemetery property until the event concludes at approximately 2 p.m.

Due to expected heavy traffic at the main gate, visitors are encouraged to walk onto cemetery grounds from the Service Complex Gate (on Columbia Pike), which is a short distance from the Pentagon City Metro station, or the Ord & Weitzel Gate (by the Marine Corps War Memorial), which is a short distance from the Rosslyn Metro station. Both are 15-20 minute walks from the Metro station to their respective gate. Please note the Pentagon Metro station will be closed due to an exercise.

Volunteers planning to assist in removing wreaths are asked to attend a short briefing at the McClellan Gate at 8:30 a.m. and to follow the below guidelines:

• For your safety, give vehicles and heavy equipment the right of way and let them pass in roadways. • Remove only WAA wreaths. Leave all other wreaths or decorations in place.
• Place wreaths in the dumpsters positioned throughout the cemetery and pack them tightly.
• When dumpsters are filled, do not pile wreaths next to them. Carry wreaths to unfilled dumpsters. • At no time should volunteers jump or climb on wreaths in dumpsters to compress them.

• Staff vehicles and heavy equipment will be compressing wreaths inside dumpsters and removing them when filled.

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