POINT PLEASANT — The Colonel Charles Lewis Chapter, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution, will again participate in the Wreaths Across America grave-marking ceremony that provides local residents an opportunity to honor service men and women in a nationwide event.
This year’s remembrance will take place at noon Saturday, Dec. 17, in the Medal of Honor Park on Jackson Avenue, Point Pleasant. This is the designated time when ceremonies are held simultaneously at Arlington National Cemetery and at more than 1,100 other locations across the United States.
Worcester Wreath Company of Harrington, Maine, started the tradition of placing wreaths on the graves at Arlington National Cemetery in 1992. That year, the company found itself with extra wreaths. Company founder Morrill Worcester, who had visited Arlington as a child, made arrangements to lay those wreaths at Arlington.
After a picture of the wreaths in the snow at Arlington went viral, thousands of e-mails and letters were received by the Worcester Wreath Company offering assistance. The ceremonies went nationwide at more than 230 locations.
In 2007, the nonprofit group Wreaths Across America was formed. The goal of Wreaths Across America is to “Remember – Honor – Teach.” More than 10,000 wreaths are laid each year at Arlington alone.
Assisting the chapter with the ceremony last year were the Point Pleasant Chapter, Sons of the American Revolution, and a veteran volunteer for each branch of the service, as well as one for prisoners of war or those missing in action. After the emotional beginning, the attendees moved to the cemeteries for the placing of wreaths, according to organizers.
After the ceremony, 117 wreaths were placed on veterans’ graves at Pioneer, Lone Oak and Suncrest cemeteries in Point Pleasant. Assisting the chapter in the laying of wreaths to honor veterans were community volunteers, including Keegan and Ava Kirkpatrick, who are being taught the sacrifice veterans made by their grandmother, Susie Kirkpatrick.
Wreath sponsors are needed. The cost is $15 per wreath. Each wreath is made from fresh pine greenery and adorned with a red bow. Sponsors may also purchase a Patriot Pair, which allows them to donate a wreath to be placed upon a veteran’s grave and also receive a wreath shipped directly to them for placement on their loved one’s grave. The cost for a Patriot Pair is $40.
Wreaths Across America is also offering a Military Tribute Pair. Again, a wreath is shipped to the Colonel Charles Lewis chapter for placement on a veteran’s grave. The sponsor who purchased it may designate the branch of service flag for the wreath that is shipped directly to them. The cost is $44.50. There are also family, small business and corporate sponsorships available.
All orders must be placed before Nov. 28 in order for the wreaths to arrive in time for the ceremony. Volunteers are also needed Dec. 17 to assist with the laying of wreaths.
To sponsor a wreath or volunteer, please contact the chairman of the local Service to Veterans committee, Diana Johnson, by e-mail at [email protected]
Diana Johnson is the chairman of the local Service to Veterans committee and a member of the Colonel Charles Lewis Chapter, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution.