WASHINGTON — Thousands are expected at Arlington National Cemetery on Saturday to lay wreaths at graves.
Access to the cemetery for the 27th annual Wreaths across America event will be different than in previous years.
“Last year, we had over 90,000 folks volunteer, visit our hallowed grounds to participate in laying wreaths on the final resting place of more than 260,000 service members, veterans and their families,” said Micheal A. Migliara, Arlington National Cemetery Director of Operations.
All gates will open at 8 a.m. on Saturday. Vehicles will not be allowed on the cemetery grounds. Volunteers are encouraged to use public transportation, and access points to the cemetery can be reached from Metrorail stations.
“Obviously Arlington Cemetery Metro, South Gate-which you can access from the Pentagon Metro parking station, and Ord & Weitzel Gate, and you can access that from Rosslyn Metro station,” said Migliara. “And then folks with DOD ID cards can access the cemetery through Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall.”
Parking is also available the Pentagon North and South parking lots, and volunteers can walk to the cemetery from there, Migliara said.
Parking slots in the cemetery parking garage will be used by family pass holders who were able to pre-register for the 600 available spaces. Pre-registration has closed, and the garage will be full.
Upon arrival to the cemetery, expect security screening at most gates.
“All the way across Memorial Ave, we’ll have screening stations,” Migliara said. There will also be security checkpoints at Ord & Weitzel Gate and South Gate. Only those who enter from inside Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall won’t need to pass through security before entering the cemetery, because they will have already been screened while entering base grounds, he said.
Migliara had additional tips for volunteers.
“Dress appropriately, it’s going to be cold, and it may be wet. Wear comfortable shoes. This is definitely a walking event.”
He also said to remember a water bottle: “It’s important, whatever the weather, to ensure that they stay hydrated.”
Volunteers are encouraged to stick around afterwards. For those looking to learn more about Arlington National Cemetery, the ANC Explorer app can lead visitors on a guided tour of the grounds.
“We encourage our volunteers to, after they lay a wreath, take a walk through the cemetery and learn about it,” Migliara said.