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Honoring the Fallen

It’s a tradition in more than 1,600 cemeteries across the U.S. — the laying of wreaths to honor fallen veterans. Though this year’s ceremony may include more social distancing due to COVID-19, the annual Wreaths Across America event will still take place at 11 a.m. this Saturday, Dec. 19 at Oak Hill Cemetery and Arboretum, 1400 E. Virginia St.

This special ceremony began in 1992 at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia — the Worcester Wreath Company discovered they had a surplus of wreaths at the end of the holidays and the decision was made by company owner Morrill Worcester to place those wreaths at Arlington atop graves in an older section of the cemetery.

Since that year, the event was done annually but quietly by the company. In 2007, the nonprofit organization Wreaths Across America officially was formed to continue and expand the ceremony, as well as support others around the U.S. who wished to honor fallen veterans in the same fashion.

Locally, Oak Hill Cemetery has laid wreaths on veterans’ graves since 2011 and was the first in the Tri-State to offer the service, working with the River City Cadet Squadron who reached out to them with the idea.

Each year, this event relies on the sponsorship and volunteerism of those in the community — 2020 is certainly no different. To become involved by sponsoring wreaths or attending to help lay wreaths, visit wreathsacrossamerica.org/pages/20201. You can also send invitations from the page to ask your friends and family to join you in your support.

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