Wreaths Across America draws thousands of volunteers to Arlington National Cemetery

Thousands of volunteers traveled to Arlington National Cemetery on Saturday to help with an annual holiday wreath laying.

Despite fears that the cemetery would not reach its annual goal, this year’s large crowd placed more than 245,000 wreaths at gravesites of U.S. service members, WTOP-FM reported.

As the wreaths were placed, the names of the fallen service members were read aloud.

“There are 25 funerals at the Arlington National Cemetery every day, so the need grows every year,” said Bree Kingsbury with Wreaths Across America. “That one wreath is really a symbol of honor and respect for each fallen service member.”

"There are 25 funerals at the Arlington National Cemetery every day, so the need grows every year. That one wreath is really a symbol of honor and respect for each fallen service member."

- Bree Kingsbury, Wreaths Across America

Wreaths Across America is a nonprofit that also places wreaths at more than 1,500 other cemeteries across the country.

The Wreaths Across America caravan traveled earlier this month from Columbia Falls, Maine, where the wreaths were made. The caravan went through several states before arriving in Arlington, Va.

The Arlington event has been going on for 26 years, honoring the men and women who've served in the U.S. armed forces.

This year's grand marshals are Vietnam War Medal of Honor recipient Roger Donlon and his wife, Norma Donlon.

The tradition began when Maine wreath maker Morrill Worcester donated 5,000 wreaths to Arlington Cemetery. A total of 1.2 million wreaths will be placed on markers across the country in 1,238 locations.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.