The Washington Post

Google donates cash to help group put holiday wreaths on Arlington graves

FILE: U.S. Marines and volunteers carry wreaths to lay on headstones at Arlington National Cemetery as part of the "Wreaths Across America Day" December 10, 2011. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

A major donation by Google and smaller donations from a number of individuals will assure that nearly 120,000 gravestones at Arlington National Cemetery will be decorated with holiday wreaths this season.

Google, which is mapping the cemetery with cameras mounted on people and cars, donated $250,000 to Wreaths Across America, a nonprofit organization that has been laying wreaths there since 1992. Others also contributed smaller amounts after a reading a story in last week’s Washington Post that reported that the effort was falling short this year.

“We’re happy to do our part to honor veterans during this holiday season,” said Susan Molinari, Google’s vice president of public policy and government relations.

Wreaths Across America, which puts wreaths on graves in 900 cemeteries nationwide, had about 12 percent more donations this year than last, but many corporate sponsors who previously had supported the Arlington effort decided this year to split their contributions between Arlington and other military cemeteries around the nation.

This week’s donations will almost bring the organization to its goal of setting 130,000 wreaths on Arlington’s 240,000 headstones Saturday. Those who want to contribute money to the effort this year can still donate via the organization’s Web site by Thursday.

“We are so in­cred­ibly grateful and humbled” by the donations, said Amber Caron, a spokeswoman for Wreaths Across America.

Getting a wreath on every headstone is next year’s goal, she said.

Patricia Sullivan covers government, politics and other regional issues in Arlington County and Alexandria. She worked in Illinois, Florida, Montana and California before joining the Post in November 2001.


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