DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Families started laying wreaths Wednesday, Dec. 16 on thousands of graves at DFW National Cemetery.

The annual Wreaths Across America effort aims to leave no headstone empty, remembering veterans during a time of year when they are often missed the most by immediate families.

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The pandemic affected fundraising however in 2020, leaving the local effort about 10,000 wreaths short of their goal.

There was never any thought though by local organizers of cancelling the event.

Wreaths at DFW National Cemetery (CBS 11)

“From the very beginning we said we were going to do this,” said Fred Rogers, who was helping organize the effort.

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He and about two dozen members of the Peter Courcy American Legion post out of Frisco, spent the afternoon unloading large boxes of wreaths from box trucks and pickups. Their goal is to have about 46,000 wreaths each year.

Family members of people buried in the cemetery started putting wreaths out during the afternoon. That will expand into a larger public effort Saturday morning, to distribute the rest of the wreaths around the property.

“We encourage them to come out,” Rogers said. “It would be great to have a good showing to get the wreaths placed.”

Loyce Engler-Houston was setting out wreaths for her parents, husband and in-laws. She had been disappointed when the pandemic cancelled other traditional veteran’s events during the past year. Christmas was her husband Gary’s favorite holiday however, and she was grateful the wreath tradition was still happening.

“That’s special to me,” she said. “Because I do recognize that they’re not with me.

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