A local tradition began in 2006 when the
Sacramento Valley National Cemetery opened outside of Dixon, California,
and wreaths were placed on the gravesites at holiday time in honor of
our fallen. It is estimated that about 346,000 veterans live within the
service area of this northern California cemetery and that it would
serve the needs of this area for the next 50 years.
About 300 wreaths were purchased in mid-December that year and the annual event was started by a dozen volunteers. By the following year, the cemetery had already grown to more than 1,300 grave sites. Letters and press releases went out asking the neighboring communities for donations and help with this new project. The response was overwhelming and the cemetery was entirely covered again.
2008 project planning began in late September. We started a
letter-writing campaign to previous years' donors, sent letters to our
growing email database and sent press releases to all area media
outlets. With so many helping to spread the word, another successful
collection drive was had and the cemetery was 100% covered again. Even
though 2009 was a much bigger challenge economically, the tradition had
settled in and people were sending in their annual donations.
The highlight of that year was that over 2,000 'volunteers' came to help
on a drizzly, foggy morning to lay 5,500 wreaths....it was truly
For 2010 the goal
amount was 7,400 wreaths, and with the generosity of many, that goal was
met! We contacted a supplier in Oregon (Teufel Holly Farms), who sold
us wreaths for only $7 each and they were able to keep the wreaths at
the same price for the 2011 campaign for which 9,300 wreaths were
In 2012, nearly 11,000 wreaths were purchased and placed by approximately 5,000 volunteers, of all ages, in attendance. For December 2013, we met the goal of covering the entire cemetery again, and honored the 12,500 veterans resting there. Once again, wreaths were delivered to us one week prior to the public wreath-laying event for those preferring a more private remembrance.
For the 2014
holiday season, we needed approximately 15,000 wreaths to remember each
of the fallen there, and we did it again thanks to the support of the
local communities. The 2015 project was also successful in raising
enough funds for 100% coverage, and we laid 16,700 wreaths to honor the
In 2016, the goal was 18,850 wreaths and we did it once again, and honored all of the Fallen resting in Dixon. And for 2017, at $9 each, we did it again and had 100% coverage with 20,600 wreaths. We continued with 100 % coverage of wreaths again in 2018 and 2019.
In 2020, we made the switch to boughs instead of wreaths, due to the pandemic. The support did not stop, even though our fundraisers had to be put on hold and we have kept the tradition of 100% coverage going in 2020 and 2021, with the most recent being 28,000 boughs. It is estimated that we will need 30,000 boughs for the 2022 holiday season.
Every year has presented its own special issues, whether it be financial, logistical or something else, but every year the support of this special event boldly outweighs any obstacle.
You can help by spreading the word to your family, friends, neighbors and co-workers! Direct them to the website, sign up for Wreath Project updates via email, support our fundraising events and attending the bough placement ceremony....it's something you'll never forget!