Thanks To All Who Supported Effort To Place Wreaths on Veterans’ Graves!

On behalf of the Andrew Johnson National Historic Site and the Andrew Johnson Heritage Association, its Official Friends Group, I want to thank the community for its overwhelming support of “Give a Christmas Gift of Remembrance” – Wreaths Across America.

            The program had the largest number of individual and organizational donations in the history of the program at the Andrew Johnson National Cemetery. Our goal of having 2,020 wreaths to place on Veterans’ graves was achieved. And, it was achieved totally through donations.

            We have been moved by the letters received with many donations as well as the efforts that several donors went to in order to support this program. I have particularly been impressed with the staff of Smokey Mountain Home Health and Hospice. Each of their offices in Newport, Morristown, Knoxville, Kingsport, and Greeneville had fund-raisers over the past few months where various staff members made home-made soup and bake potatoes which they sold to other staff members. In total they raised funds to help the Andrew Johnson National Historic Site obtain 190 wreaths. I particularly want to recognize Mitzi Kemp, a retired staff member and current volunteer with Smokey Mountain Home Health and Hospice who not only helped to lead the company’s donation effort but also raised funds to help secure an additional 148 wreaths. This is certainly creative and unselfish giving and an example for us all.

            On December 18, 2021 the community will have the opportunity to recognize our Veterans at the annual Wreaths Across America Day. The program will begin at 11:30 am at the National Cemetery. Shuttle bus service will be available beginning at 10:30 am from Hal Henard School.

            I also want to encourage you to visit the National Cemetery with your family during the Christmas Season. Take fifteen minutes, drive into the Cemetery, get out of your car, and visit. Explain to your children and family members what the cemetery and the beautiful sight of all the wreaths means to our community and country. This Christmas season I am asking you to help Remember our fallen Veterans, Honor those who serve, and Teach our children the value of freedom.

            After December 18th, a list of the names of Veterans for whom wreaths were donated “In Memory or Honor of” will be available on the Association’s web page,

            Thank you for all your support and Best Wishes for the Christmas Season.

George Collins, President

Andrew Johnson Heritage Association