HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - It's a nationwide initiative that's back in the Rocket City -- "Wreaths For Veterans." Here in north Alabama, volunteers have been decorating veterans' graves for 11 years. This year, hundreds of volunteers showed up and made sure all the wreaths were prepped in four days.
This is JoAnn Haggert's first year volunteering, and it combines several things she's passionate about.
"I love Christmas, so, just to have a bright red bow on that grave, it's really pretty when you pass by and look at them," Haggert said. "I've never been able to serve in the military so this is the least I could do to honor the people that already did serve."
Co-founder Jennifer Hames says the best part is seeing some of the same and many new people volunteering their time to honor military families.
"We meet new people every year, it just gives me cold chills to think about it," Hames said.
In its first year, the initiative laid 500 wreaths on local vets' graves. This year, the goal is 4,000.
"This is a military town, and there's a lot of veterans in this area, and a lot of people that have a connection with veterans," Hames said. "It's just a very important thing for them to see."
The wreaths are held to a strict standard. Volunteers are told to make wreaths look like nothing less than what they'd place on the grave of their own loved one.
"Fluffing them out and making them look like they're brand new as much as possible," Haggert said. "Making sure that they're worthy to be on the grave. I'm trying to make it look my best!"
November 14, 2018 (Wednesday)
Valhalla Cemetery, Winchester Road
November 15, 2018 (Thursday)
Maple Hill Cemetery, corner of California and McClung
A ceremony will be held on December 15, 2018 (Saturday) at 11 a.m. at Maple Hill Cemetery.