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Wreaths Across America
For the ninth year in a row, “Wreaths Across America” will take place locally, Saturday, December 15th at Soldier’s Circle in Lake View Cemetery. The ceremony will begin promptly at noon. “Wreaths Across America’s” mission is to lay as many wreaths as possible at the gravesites of veterans to remember their service and the sacrifices made for their country. There are more than 1,400 locations nationwide taking part in this year’s ceremony. The event coincides with the national laying of wreaths at Arlington National Cemetery where more than 400,000 veterans have been laid to rest. “Wreaths Across America’s” motto is; “REMEMBER the fallen… HONOR those who serve… TEACH our children the value of freedom”.
Locally; the Blue Star Mothers, Lake Erie New York Chapter 4, has spearheaded the effort to encourage the community to donate wreaths. Wreaths may be sponsored in honor of a living veteran, in memory of a fallen hero, or for a specific veteran’s grave. Location coordinator, Todd Hanson, stated that to date, over 400 wreaths have been sponsored for placement at Soldier’s Circle. When the sponsorships are finalized, Hanson expects the total to be near 500 wreaths. The deadline for donations was December 2nd; however, donations are still welcome at any time for next year’s ceremony.
Susan Rowley, president of the local chapter stated, “We are so honored to be a part of this special day. One of the most important aspects of the ceremony is the reciting of each veteran’s name as the wreath is placed, insuring no veteran is forgotten.” Ms. Rowley also encourages all community organizations, groups and individuals to attend and to assist with the laying of the wreaths. In past years volunteers have numbered from 75 – 80 individuals.
“Wreaths Across America” is held annually on the second or third Saturday of December. “Wreaths Across America” was established as a non-profit organization in 2007. In December of 2008, at over 300 locations more than 100,000 wreaths were placed on veteran gravesites throughout the country. However, the true beginning dates to 1992. Morrill Worcester, the owner of a wreath company in Harrington, Maine, donated 5,000 wreaths to Arlington National Cemetery to be placed at veteran gravesites. A local trucking company donated the delivery, and a new tradition was born. For the next fifteen years, Worcester with the assistance of local trucking companies, donated wreaths. In 2005, a photo of a snow covered Arlington National Cemetery with wreaths laid at each grave went viral on the internet. Thousands of people offered to volunteer and many cities, towns and cemeteries across the country adopted the practice.
On the 25th anniversary of Worcester,s first donation in 1992, over 1,200 locations, boasting more than 800,000 volunteers placed 1.2 million wreaths on veteran’s graves. Today, hundreds of trucking companies donate thousands of hours and miles to the delivery effort.
On Saturday, December 15th at precisely 12:00 pm, 1,400 locations spread across all 50 states and abroad will begin 2018’s “Wreaths Across America” ceremonies. Please be a part of Jamestown’s effort.