KENT, Wash. - Like most mothers, Mary Bradshaw has always loved Christmas with her family. This year, though, things will be quite different.
Christmas Day will mark the six-month anniversary of her son's death. Twenty-four-year-old Brian Bradshaw died in Afghanistan - the victim of a road-side bomb.
"It has been very hard," said Bradshaw."You want to be excited during the holidays, but you just can't."
Mary is now focusing her energy on honoring her son's memory, along with those of hundreds of other deceased veterans, by placing wreaths on their graves at Tahoma National Cemetery near Covington.
"Last year there were only about 170 wreaths for the 23,000 or so veterans buried here," said Brandshaw. "We need to keep these people alive and real in our hearts and minds."
Brandshaw is hoping to get hundreds, even thousands more wreaths to place at the cemetery for a ceremony Dec. 12.
"If a cemetery can be a beautiful place, I want this to be one," she said. "This isn't just about my son. It's about all the sons and daughters buried here. They deserve our respect, especially these days."
In order to ensure the wreaths are sent to Tahoma National Cemetery, donors must use the location ID# WATNCK (for Washington State Tahoma National Cemetery, Kent) and the Group ID# WAGSM001 (for Washington State Gold Star Mothers).
Donations may also be mailed to Wreaths Across America, P.O. Box 256, Harrington, ME 04643.