Dec. 15, 2012
WASHINGTON - It was a tradition that was started five years ago by a former Georgetown football player, but has been passed down from class to class. And each time the Georgetown student-athletes visit Arlington National Cemetery in Northern Virginia, they leave with memories that will last a lifetime.
Five years, former Hoya football player Jon Cassidy (C'10) had a bunch of his teammates join him to at Arlington National Cemetery as a part of a program called Wreaths Across America.
The Wreaths Across America program was started 20 years ago by the Worcester Wreath Company of Harrington, Maine. Volunteers place wreaths on the headstones of the United States fallen heroes at Arlington National Cemetery. Their mission statement is "Remember ... Honor ... Teach." Now, there are ceremonies like it at veteran's cemeteries all over the country.
Cassidy's thought five years ago was that it would be a nice break for him and his teammates in the middle of final exams and that it would be a chance to do something good.
Five years later, Georgetown University's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) continues that tradition. Senior women's lacrosse player Lauren Gray (Alexandria, Va./Bishop Ireton) said that it's an event that has really energized student-athletes in previous years and has even greater meaning.
"It was a very special morning," Gray said. "There was a mixture of feelings because you realize the loss that families go through, but by the same token, as a group, we were doing something to remember them. "
Members of SAAC, along with Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Lee Reed, gathered together early on this cool Saturday morning and took vans over to Arlington National Cemetery, where they received instructions on what they would do.
One of the instructions each volunteer was given was to be sure to read the name of each person when they placed the wreath.
"It certainly made it more personal," senior women's soccer player Christina O'Tousa () said. "You realize that many of the graves you're placing wreaths on are kids your age and it puts things in perspective. At the end of the morning, when you see 10,000 wreaths on the graves, it's pretty special."
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