Each year around Thanksgiving, the Friends of the Central Texas Veterans Cemetery and volunteers from across Texas lay wreaths at the graves of those who lay in rest at the cemetery.

This year, the tradition will continue, rain or shine, and you're invited to participate and honor the lives and memories of those who served.

This Saturday, November 28, over 11,000 wreaths will be laid beginning at 10 AM. Our partners at KWTX expect a 70% chance of rain Saturday, but organizers say that won't stop them from laying wreaths, and they're inviting the public to help.

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Because of the expected conditions, parking at the cemetery will be limited. However, folks who'd like to volunteer their time to help out can park at Texas A&M University–Central Texas  (1001 Leadership Pl in Killeen) and catch a bus to the cemetery, which is located at 11463 TX-195 in Killeen.

The number of buses will be doubled this year to ensure that everyone who'd like to participate can make it. The buses will run between 8 AM and Noon.

Masks will be required due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and you'll be expected to maintain a safe and respectful physical distance from other parties to ensure everyone's safety.

If you're a biker, you're invited to help escort the thousands of wreaths, lovingly crafted by volunteers this past weekend, to the cemetery. Motorcyclists can meet at the Killeen Special Events Center, 3301 South W S Young Drive, at 7 AM.

There's no sign-up sheet or registration required to volunteer or be part of the motorcycle escort. Just show up, wear your mask, and they'll be happy to have your help.

Note: Family and friends of those buried at the cemetery will be given time to lay wreaths first, after which volunteers may lay wreaths at the remaining graves.

Not a single grave is left without a wreath.

According to wreathsforvets.org, the wreath laying tradition at the Central Texas Veterans Cemetery began in 2007 when Wreaths Across America sent six wreaths to veteran cemeteries across the nation to be laid in honor of each branch of the military, as well as prisoners of war and those missing in action.

One woman thought every grave should be honored with a wreath, and within three days she had gathered enough wreaths and volunteers to ensure that they were.

Each year, the wreaths are laid on the Saturday following Thanksgiving and retrieved shortly after the beginning of the new year. They'll need volunteers to help with retrieval as well, so we'll let you know when that's coming up.

To all who have served in our armed forces, and the families of those veterans who are no longer with us, we say thank you and wish you a joyous holiday season.

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