Each year, on National Wreaths Across America Day, millions of Americans — a third of whom are children — come together to remember fallen veterans, honor those who serve and their families, and teach the next generation about the value of freedom. Locally, the Freelove Baldwin Stow Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) of Milford is planning the 12th annual ceremony along with the mayor’s office, and the DAV Post 15 on Saturday, Dec. 14, at noon, at Kings Highway Cemetery, 271 Cherry St. Milford. The event is free and open to the public.

More than 100 people participated last year. Each year, a new theme is chosen by the national organization to help local volunteers and supporters focus their messaging and outreach in their communities. This year, the theme is “Everyone plays a part.”

The inspiration for this year’s theme was a recommendation made by 10-year-old “Mighty” Miles Worcester, the grandson of the founders of Wreaths Across America, Morrill and Karen Worcester. Last May, while in Washington, D.C. for an event, Miles saw a U.S. service member in uniform at the hotel where he was staying. Miles walked up to the gentleman, reached out to shake his hand and thanked him for his service. And his response was simple and impactful: “Thank you … everyone plays a part.” Miles went directly to his grandmother, WAA Executive Director Karen Worcester, to tell her that he believed this statement would be the perfect theme because, as he said, “those serving in the military are doing their part, but it is our part as Americans to remember and honor them, and that’s what Wreaths Across America does.”

“The millions of volunteers and supporters — from schoolchildren and educators, professional truck drivers, first responders, veterans, Gold Star and Blue Star families, to corporations and other nonprofits — devote so much of themselves to the mission to Remember, Honor, Teach, in their own communities,” a press release said. “Each of them, playing a part in helping to plan and participate in local events and fundraising activities, sponsor and transport wreaths, and raise awareness.”

When asked how he feels to know so many people across the country come together each December to remember, honor and teach, Miles said without hesitation, “It makes me feel proud to be an American.”

In 2018, nearly 1.8 million veteran wreaths were placed on headstones at 1,640 participating cemeteries around the country in honor of the service and sacrifices made for our freedoms.

For more information on how to volunteer locally or sponsor a wreath for a hero, visit wreathsacrossamerica.org. Group # is CT0052 to sponsor a wreath for the Milford location.