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Wreaths rest against hundreds of graves in one section of the Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery Saturday. Hundreds of volunteers helped place a wreath in front of all graves, more than 11,000 in total.

Mostly sunny skies should greet volunteers Saturday at the Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery for the annual wreath retrieval, according to the National Weather Service.

The forecast calls for temperatures on Saturday to reach the low-50s.

Despite the good weather, Jean Shine, founder of Wreaths for Vets, said the numbers may be down from years past.

“We expect a smaller crowd due to COVID,” she said Thursday.

For those who do attend, precautions will be taken.

“We’re still going to be social distancing and wearing masks,” Shine said.

Saturday’s retrieval will also include retrieving the bows from the wreaths and the hooks that keep them in place.

“We will be retiring bows that are in bad condition,” Shine said.

Once all 12,000-plus wreaths are retrieved, they will be stored until November.

Shine said the wreaths can sometimes be dirty, so she encourages participants to wear comfortable shoes and clothes they don’t mind getting dirty.

Every year, hundreds of volunteers fluff and prepare the wreaths on the Saturday before Thanksgiving and then place them in front of every headstone and on every columbarium on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

This year, hundreds of volunteers placed the wreaths on Nov. 28.

The brief ceremony prior to retrieval will begin at 10 a.m., but volunteers are needed to begin unloading the metal poles off of the trucks to put in all the sections at 9 a.m.

All of the sections of graves in the cemetery are hosted by area cities. Wreaths for Vets provides a map near main entrance to the cemetery for reference of which city hosts each area, although volunteers are not required to be in their respective city’s area.

Retrieval of all of the wreaths should take around an hour to complete.

Participants are encouraged to use the park and ride system to attend. Parking is at Texas A&M University–Central Texas, 1001 Leadership Place, just off of State Highway 201, and buses run between 8 a.m. and noon. Limited parking will be available at the cemetery. All participants are advised to anticipate traffic and arrive early.


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