FAQs: What to know about Wreaths Across America at Arlington National Cemetery

What is it?

Wreaths Across America holds an annual event to honor those laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery. Volunteers will lay a wreath on each veteran’s grave — more than a quarter-million wreaths altogether — and each veteran’s name will be spoken aloud to honor them.

When is it?

Volunteers are currently in the process of laying out wreaths. There will be a larger wreath-laying event on Saturday, Dec. 14, beginning at 8:30 a.m.

How long will the wreaths be up?

If you can’t make it to the Dec. 14 opening ceremony, you’ll have four weeks to see the wreaths, which will be taken down on Saturday, Jan. 11.

How can I get involved?

Those looking to volunteer can show up at 8 a.m. at the cemetery.

For those unable to give their time, there’s the option to sponsor wreaths. Donate through the Wreaths of America website.

How can I attend the opening ceremony?

The cemetery gates will open to the public at 8 a.m. Dec. 14. Visitors and volunteers will be subject to a security screening prior to entry.

There will be a brief opening ceremony inside the cemetery at the McClellan Gate at 8:30 a.m. Wreath laying will begin elsewhere in the cemetery at that time.

How can I get there on Metro?

Metro anticipates significant congestion at the Arlington Cemetery station on the Blue Line, and recommends volunteers and visitors exit at the Rosslyn or Pentagon stations, each about a 15 minute walk from the cemetery. The Rosslyn station is serviced by the Orange, Silver and Blue lines, and is closest to the Ord and Weitzel Gate along North Meade Street. The Pentagon station, served by the Yellow and Blue lines, is closest to the cemetery’s South Gate.

How can I get there via ride-hailing?

Those using a ride-hailing service such as Uber or Lyft should set their drop-off location as the Hayes lot at 599-549 Army Navy Drive. It will be a short walk from the Hayes lot to the South Gate.

Where can I park?

If you absolutely must drive, there will be limited public parking at the Pentagon north and south lots; volunteers and signs will guide visitors to the nearest cemetery gate (Memorial Avenue main entrance for the north lot; South Gate for the south lot).

For volunteers, there will be $7 parking available at 1616 Fort Myer Drive, 1300 Wilson Blvd. and 1655 Fort Myer Drive.

If you have a disabled placard or family pass, you will be able to park in the ANC Welcome Center parking garage. Visitors should go to Pentagon north parking to have their pass verified before being directed to welcome center parking. Once the garage is full, drivers will be directed to other parking options. Unlike last year, there is no pre-registration for family pass parking this year.

Those with Defense Department ID cards will be able to access Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, but parking will be limited to the Tri Services lot across from Spates Community Center and Henderson Hall. Visitors parking there will access the cemetery through the Old Post Chapel Gate.

Any other traffic or transit issues I should be aware about?

Check out this weekend’s D.C.-area traffic guide from WTOP’s Max Smith.

Any other advice?

Sure! WTOP’s Michelle Murillo spoke with Maj. Jeremy Tilley, operations officer at Arlington National Cemetery. Here are a few tidbits to keep in mind for this event:

  • Keep an eye on the weather forecast. Whether it’s going to be raining or cold, or both, please dress appropriately for an outdoor event given those conditions.
  • Please take direction from the safety officers and cemetery personnel before you enter the cemetery to go through screening, and once you are in the cemetery moving around.
  • There will be large crowds, so if you want to arrive early to get your wreath and go to the section you want to go to, that’s probably recommended as well.
  • You will go through screening. The normal list of prohibited items for Arlington National Cemetery is still a factor. The full list is on the website.
  • Be patient, be courteous of one another and be respectful of these hallowed grounds.

Keep up-to-date with weather and traffic right here with WTOP.

WTOP’s Michelle Murillo contributed to this report. 

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