UPDATED | DECEMBER 12, 2015, 11:15 PMBy Brian New


Follow CBSDFW.COM: Facebook | Twitter

DALLAS (CBS11) — It’s often said this time of year that it’s the thought that counts.

That especially holds true when a thought and a prayer are the only presents you can give.

As a public display of those thoughts and prayers, more than 1,000 volunteers gathered Saturday at DFW National Cemetery in Dallas to lay wreaths at the headstones of more than 10,000 veterans.

“It’s heart-warming to see there’s still a lot of support in the world,” Nita Edwards said as she fought back tears.

Her brother, Army Staff Sgt. Clay A. Craig, a graduate of Mesquite High School, died in Iraq in combat in 2008. Edwards said it meant a lot to be able to place a wreath at her brother’s grave.

Saturday’s event was a part of the Wreaths Across America program.

The program started in 1992 at Arlington National Cemetery just outside Washington, D.C., but it wasn’t until recently that it’s caught on at DFW National Cemetery. Six years ago roughly a dozen volunteers placed less than 50 wreaths at the national cemetery in Dallas.

That day Mary Bush laid a wreath at the headstone of Frisco High School graduate U.S. Army Cpl. Peter John Courcy.

It was her Christmas present to her oldest son.

“Even though I don’t get to actually see and feel him, when you get to lay that wreath on that headstone, you are giving your present to your loved one,” Bush said.

Wreaths Across America

That day Bush and her husband, Chris, decided they wanted to honor their son by giving all 40,000+ veterans buried at DFW National Cemetery that same present. So the Frisco couple began collecting donations and spreading the word.

The event has grown every year. This year volunteers placed more than 10,000 wreaths across the cemetery.

“That’s what it is all about,” Bush said, “still remembering them.”

(©2015 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)