There will be no shortage of wreaths to decorate the headstones of those buried at Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery this holiday season, because North Texans stepped up this holiday.
The local chapter hoped to collect 48,000 wreaths by Dec. 2 to ensure every headstone has a wreath this holiday.
At 4:45 p.m. on Wednesday, Mary Bush, a Gold Star Mother who helped start the DFW Chapter of Wreaths Across America, said she got the call that the cemetery had reached full coverage.
"I broke down with tears when I got the news. Definitely tears of joy and relief," said Mary Bush. "Just a big thank you for everyone who donated. This is a community effort and I cannot express my gratitude enough. I am so thankful that every veteran laid to rest will be respected and honored."
The family said people might not know just how massive the DFW National Cemetery is. It is one of the largest in the country, with a capacity for 280,000.
"It is very important that our military family is not forgotten, and this is a way we show all of our veterans that you are not forgotten, you are remembered," said Chris Bush.
The Bushes started the local chapter the same year their son -- soldier Cpl. Peter Courcy of Frisco – was killed in action in Afghanistan in 2009.
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Ever since then, they’ve collected donations to purchase fresh wreaths to lay on the memorials at the cemetery. In the first year, they laid 250 wreaths. The endeavor has grown over the years, with 24,000 wreaths laid in 2018 with the help of 6,000 volunteers.
"It has helped me personally with the healing process because in 2009 our son was killed in Afghanistan. And it is a way to help pick up his legacy to remember our military men and women," said Mary. "Our military servicemen and women do so much for our country and it is a simple act of kindness to show that we are a grateful country."
The fresh wreaths are all donated and placed at the headstones by volunteers, as well as family.
"When you come out and you hold a wreath, you walk, you choose wherever it goes, you lay it down and say that name, it is very powerful," said Bush. "For us it was like we can still give a Christmas present to our son." Bush, along with his wife Mary, are parents to fallen soldier Cpl. Peter Courcy of Frisco.
Wreaths will be laid on Dec. 14 at 11 a.m., the public is welcome to attend.