Men's Basketball Volunteers at Arlington Cemetery
ARLINGTON, Va.- Each year, a non-profit organization called Wreaths Across America honors fallen U.S. veterans by placing over 100,000 wreathes in more than 300 locations nationwide. The group preaches one message: “Remember the fallen; Honor those who serve; Teach our children the value of freedom.”
This simple, yet powerful slogan is the foundation for an organization that has grown from humble beginnings into a National movement to honor the sacrifices of American servicemen and women. It was a message that Steve Howes, CUA head men’s basketball coach, hoped to instill in his players when he signed them up to volunteer at this year’s event.
“A lot of members of my family have been in the service, and I know the sacrifice that they put forth,” said head coach Steve Howes. ‘Given the fact that our country is involved in two conflicts right now, I thought it would be appropriate for our guys to honor the service of so many men and women.”
The team met on the chilly morning of December 12, 2009 to volunteer at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va. Although the young men were not thrilled to be riding a metro train at 6 a.m., their sleepiness turned to awe soon after they arrived.
“Many had never visited Arlington,” said Howes, “So I think the size and scope of it all was shocking to them.”
This year, more than 6,000 volunteers placed 15,000 wreathes on the graves of the fallen. The men’s basketball team also joined forced with 75 members of the Alumni Association to represent Catholic University at this year’s event.
“It was great for the alumni to interact with our guys and to see them doing something other than playing basketball,” the head coach noted.
Howes believes that by instilling the WAA’s motto of “Remember, Honor, and Teach,” his players will walk away with a new appreciation for the sacrifices of those who have given their lives.
“Many of those serving are their ages,” he said. “I wanted to give them some perspective on how fortunate they are to be in college and playing a sport.”