FORT SMITH, Ark. (KFSM) — The Fort Smith National Cemetery is gearing up for Christmas Honors where wreaths are placed on headstones of each gravesite.
Each December, thousands of community volunteers honor veterans by sharing Christmas cheer.
“It’s patriotic. It’s patriotic...it brings out the good in all of us in this town,” Philip Merry said.
Christmas Honors started 11 years ago and Merry says they had two goals in mind.
“Pay respect to the veterans who are buried here at this special place and to thank their families for having shared them,” Merry said.
On Wednesday, Dec. 4, truckloads of wreaths will arrive at the Fort Smith Convention Center.
Over 800 volunteers will prepare the wreaths to be placed on the headstones.
“It’s a way we all come together. We have our senior citizens: working people and even our young people,” Mayor George McGill said.
Mayor McGill says he is amazed by his city every year at Christmas time.
“To see how this community rises to every occasion, that’s meaningful and certainly when we come to together on December 7th,” McGill said.
Merry says it's important we honor our veterans during the Christmas season.
"I've had the pleasure of visiting with a lot of veterans over the years who have done this and I haven't heard from one veteran that they were ever afraid of dying. The consistent theme is they just hope they'll never be forgotten,” Merry said.