Kenwood High’s Social Studies Honor Society Cleans up Wreaths at Arlington National Cemetery

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Kenwood High’s Social Studies Honor Society Cleans up Wreaths at Arlington National Cemetery

Katelyn Taylor and Jean Marie Rodier, Senior and Social Studies Advisor

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Near our nation’s capital in Washington, D.C., at the National Cemetery in Arlington, Va., there are ceremonies for all of the fallen soldiers, and one includes the laying and picking up of the wreaths. On December 15 the wreath ceremony took place and thousands of volunteers helped lay these wreaths on over 200,000 graves. The wreaths stay on the graves for a little over a month before more volunteers pick them up.

The picking up of the wreaths is another volunteer project in which multiple people show up with long poles and sticks to pick up as many wreaths as possible. This service project was something that Kenwood’s National Social Studies Honors Society participated in on January 19. Kenwood’s Social Studies Honor Society advisor, Jean Rodier, organized this year’s wonderful service project and trip to our National Cemetery.

“The idea for this event was brought to our club last year by the Rho Kappa Social Studies Honor Society president, Chris Ospina, who is now at the US Naval Academy. We attempted to do this last year also, but never made it due to weather and car trouble,” said Rodier.

Though Chris did not get to participate, this year’s students, Katelyn Taylor, Emma Pollard, and Jillian Hoffman found the experience to be an honor and hope to see the Kenwood Social Studies Honor Society carry on this tradition in the future.

When they reached Arlington it didn’t appear that there were any wreaths to pick up. Signs around the grounds asked that visitors walk with respect.

While at first they did not find many wreaths to pick up, they shortly discovered that many were buried under the snow and looked like donuts. In the end, they found about 30 wreaths. Using borrowed hockey sticks from Kenwood’s PE department they took care of disposing of the wreaths, so new ones could be laid by the next round of volunteers.

Before heading back to Kenwood, they were fortunate enough to catch the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, which they found to be an awe-inspiring moment everyone should catch at least once in their lifetime.