Punctuated by a crisp military color guard, the chilling serenade of bagpipes and musket-fire salutes by soldiers in period costume, the nonprofit group Wreaths Across America placed an estimated 2,800 holiday wreaths in all with the help of local Scouts, veterans groups and other volunteers. Now in its sixth year, the program provides remembrance wreaths for national and state veterans cemeteries, monuments and community centers across the nation.
In 2008 and 2009, the United States Congress unanimously decreed the second Saturday of December as National Wreaths Across America Day.
Wreaths Across American officials said the event is intended as a remembrance of those who served and sacrificed for their country, and along parallel lines to teach the younger generations about the true cost of the country’s freedoms.
Brig. Gen Robert Cardenas (Air Force Ret.), delivered the keynote address for the formal ceremony, flanked by senior officers and senior non-commissioned officers from local commands. Representatives of the latter placed wreaths on Fort Rosecrans memorials specially designated for the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Coast Guard, Merchant Marine and prisoner of war/missing in action veterans.
Wreaths Across American officials said 2,500 of the wreaths were donated by Qualcomm, Inc., with the balance being donated by other local organizations.
Officials with the nonprofit organization are projecting that more than 200,000 wreaths will have been placed this year by some 160,000 volunteers to further the group’s mission to “remember, honor and teach.”
For more information, visit www.WreathsAcrossAmerica.org.
— Kevin McKay