On Saturday, Dec. 15, the George Washington men's and women's water polo teams took a break from studying for exams to help honor fallen veterans at Arlington National Cemetery.
The Colonials volunteered with Wreaths Across America, a nonprofit organization which coordinates wreath-laying ceremonies at veterans' cemeteries across the country, a tradition which began in 1992 at Arlington National Cemetery.
GW head coach Scott Reed and his wife, Allison, have participated in the event for several years, and this year they asked the student-athletes to join them.
"My wife's grandfather served in World War II, so Wreaths Across America has meant something to her," Coach Reed said. "In the years that we've done this, we've seen very few students participating, and we wanted to give the student-athletes the opportunity to see Arlington National Cemetery and understand what it's all about."
The Colonials joined the 20,000 volunteers to place 110,000 wreaths on the headstones of veterans' graves.
"Participating in Wreaths Across America meant a lot to me," said junior Allison Littlejohn, who has a number of family members either currently in the military or who previously served, including her brother, father, cousin and both grandfathers. "I believe it is important to honor those who have given their lives serving our country and those who continue to risk their lives every day."
"Honoring the brave men and women who fight for our freedom by laying wreaths at their graves was an honor, and my team felt privileged to honor these fallen heroes," added junior Katherine Berry, whose grandfather served in World War II. "Seeing all of the graves with wreaths was such a beautiful sight and it shows us what Christmas is truly about."