Wreaths to honor veterans

Christmas Wreaths to honor veterans this holiday seasonNational Wreaths Across America Day honors veterans. Visit www.wreathacrossamerica.org.
Wreaths to honor veterans

Remembrance wreaths are placed in the Tioga Cemetery at the father and son graves of Tioga County’s First Fallen Hero of the Vietnam War, Army Pfc. Gary Faucett and his WWII dad, Army Sergeant Earnest L. Faucett. (Photo provided by Jim Raftis, Sr.)

On Saturday, Dec. 16, veterans and auxiliaries from the Glenn A. Warner Post 1371, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Tioga Post 401 American Legion, Vietnam Veterans of America, Veterans of Modern Warfare of Iraq and Afghanistan, and Tioga County Marine Corps League and members of the community will gather together to honor deceased veterans during the holiday season as part of the annual Wreaths Across America Day.

In Owego, wreaths will be placed at the Tioga County Veterans Memorial on the south lawn of the Tioga County Courthouse at noon on Saturday, Dec. 16.  Owego began the practice in December 2008. 

Elsewhere in Tioga County, veterans from the Nichols American Legion, Waverly VFW and American Legion, Candor American Legion and Spencer Van Etten VFW and Friends of Waverly Cemetery Preservation are encouraged to hold similar ceremonies also at noon at their community’s veteran memorial and invite veterans and the general public.

Church congregations, individuals and families are invited to cover the many cemeteries here in Tioga and Northern Bradford and Susquehanna Counties and the Valley communities of Waverly, South Waverly, Sayre and Athens. Take the lead to adopt a cemetery, then buy or make a wreath for delivery to and placement at the main entrance to the cemetery you have chosen.

Families may place fresh evergreens on the grave of their veteran. This is to remember the Christmas the veterans may never have had. Others may wish to remember those veterans who had to spend a holiday away from their loved ones. 

When the wreaths are placed, the name of the person on each headstone is read. By doing that, the volunteer can let families who can’t visit a cemetery frequently know that at least once a year someone will pay respect to their loved ones. This is a tangible way to be able to honor their service, and to really show their families that they haven’t been forgotten.

Wreaths are placed at Berkshire Evergreen Cemetery to remember veterans and Pearl Harbor Survivor Dick Hopkins.

Throughout the United States, specially designated wreaths for the Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, Merchant Marine, and POW/MIA will be placed on memorials during a ceremony that will be coordinated simultaneously at over 1,000 locations all across the Country and on foreign soil.

Placement of the ceremonial wreaths will REMEMBER all soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines who served, HONOR their sacrifices, and TEACH our younger generations about the high cost of our freedoms.

Dec. 16 will mark the 26th anniversary of Maine wreaths being donated and placed on 245,000 headstones at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia.

The year 2017 is also the 12th year of the national wreath sponsorship campaign under the guidance of the non-profit, www.WreathsAcrossAmerica.org, that will bring the same remembrance wreaths to National and State Veterans cemeteries in all 50 states from Maine to Alaska, and at 24 national cemeteries on foreign soil.

In addition to these ceremonial wreaths, a number of civic groups around the Country have joined with Wreaths Across America to promote wreaths to be placed on veteran graves in cemeteries.

In 2017 it is projected that over one million wreaths will be placed nationwide by thousands as part of the Wreaths Across America mission to Remember, Honor, and Teach. 

The Wreaths Across America story began over 26 years ago when the Worcester Wreath Company from Harrington, Maine, initiated a tradition of donating and placing wreaths on the headstones of our Nation’s fallen heroes at Arlington National Cemetery.

Recognition of the service and sacrifice of our veterans, and their families, is especially poignant during the traditional holiday season.

Worcester Wreath Company continues to be a major supporter of the project, donating thousands of wreaths annually. Individuals, businesses, and groups from communities nationwide will sponsor thousands of wreaths.

Wreaths Across America (WAA) is a national non-profit organization that has grown quickly. Its mission is to Remember, Honor and Teach. Remember the fallen, Honor those who serve including their families who sacrifice, and Teach our children the cost of the freedoms we enjoy each day.

WAA pursues its mission with nation-wide wreath-laying events amid the holiday season, and year-round educational outreach inviting all Americans to appreciate our freedoms and the cost at which they are delivered.

Contact Glenn A. Warner Post 1371, Veterans of Foreign Wars Memorial Chairman Jim Raftis by calling 687-4220, or by email to jraftis2@stny.rr.com for more information or to provide updates on your activity.

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