FORT SMITH (KFSM) -- Since 2009, volunteers have been placing Christmas wreaths on each gravestone at the Fort Smith National Cemetery to remember fallen soldiers during the holiday season.
Christmas Honors volunteers will gather at the Fort Smith Convention Center Friday (Dec. 15) to help fluff the thousands of wreaths, and decorate them with a bright red bow.
More than 16,000 wreaths are being prepared for the event. Organizers said this year's wreaths are bigger and better than previous years. "The wreaths are bigger, they're 24 inches in diameter," said Christmas Honors Chairman Philip Merry. "The greenery glistens when the sun hits it. It's beautiful."
If you're unable to come to the workshop to help fluff and prepare the wreaths, organizers say they'll take any help they can find. "We need trucks and trailers and scores of people to pull this off," Merry said.
The transformation this group does to the national cemetery each year is something very special to the community and its veterans. "We are just trying to say thank you at Christmas time," said Merry. "It's very important to take time out of the Santa Claus time, to give it up for the vets and their families who share them."
If you'd like to volunteer, the wreath workshop is from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday.
The public laying of the wreaths ceremony will take place Saturday (Dec. 16) at 11 a.m. at the Fort Smith National Cemetery.