THE PENTAGON (Gray DC) -- On a site of one of the deadliest terror attacks in our nation’s history, 184 wreaths are hung with care, one for each victim of Flight 77. It part of one of more than 1,600 events branching out of Wreaths Across America – a tradition honoring those who served but are no longer with us.
Chris Kinnard’s husband died half-a-century ago in Vietnam. "I can’t even explain it," she said of what the event means to her.
The Gold Star wife from Colorado Springs said the shaming of veterans and their families during the Vietnam-era stands in stark contrast to celebrations like these. This is her fourth year attending the Pentagon ceremony.
"To be a young widow, with a young child, and to not ever talk about anything like this, [then] five years ago, [I] started healing, and part of the healing was Wreaths Across America," she said.
Karen Worcester and her husband Morrill started the tradition in 1992 and continued it because of what it did for their spirits. "When somebody tells us that we’ve made a difference, it’s hard for us to even fathom that," she said.
But as it has grown in scale -- to more than a million wreaths and tens of thousands of volunteers – the couple said now, it’s about everyone else.
"We can’t leave these families behind that is our responsibility," Karen said, "we embrace them, we pick them up out of their grief and we carry them with us into the New Year."
And that this couple says is the mission now: to convince young and old across the country to embrace those who gave so much for it – and to express that appreciation year-round.