DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — Close to 60,000 men and women who fought for our country were laid to rest at Dayton National Cemetery, but just a portion of those gravesites will receive a wreath this December.

Justin MacKellar, the Volunteer Site Coordinator for Wreaths Across America at Dayton National Cemetery, said they are hoping to lay even more wreaths this year.

“On average, we usually have about 3,000, 4,000 wreaths we get to place. We’d like to see that number grow and eventually cover every spot here if possible,” MacKellar said.

For more than a decade, Wreaths Across America has strived to honor and pay tribute to our brave service men and women. The annual wreath laying ceremony has become a holiday tradition for families and members of the community.

This tradition took a hit during the COVID-19 pandemic with less people sponsoring wreaths, but MacKellar said they received the most wreath sponsorships ever last year. They were able to lay more than 4,000 wreaths.

“We need to remember the people who were out here and what they did for our country and where we came from,” MacKellar said.

The organization has a goal to cover even more gravesites this year. MacKellar hopes people will start the holiday giving season early this year, and help make sure those buried at the Dayton National Cemetery are never forgotten.

“Some of the families come out here and say this actually helps with some of the closure and to keep their memory alive. And it helps them with the grieving process as well,” MacKellar said.

Wreaths Across America Day is December 16, 2023. To sponsor a wreath and learn more about the ceremony, click here.