Wreaths on Veteran graves for Christmas

Wreaths on Veteran graves for Christmas

Wreaths Across America needs your help to reach their goal of community members placing a Christmas wreath on veterans’ graves in Tioga County, The Valley, and Northern Bradford and Susquehanna Counties.  

Every time you do a wreath laying for veterans, you are also honoring their families and preparing a new generation to appreciate America’s freedoms. 

On or before National Wreaths Across America Day, set for Saturday, Dec. 14, local organizers hope 2019 will be the year that a wreath can be placed on every single one of the graves. 

Veterans will lay wreaths at veteran memorials in Owego, Nichols, Candor, Spencer Van Etten, Waverly, South Waverly, Sayre, and Athens.  

Entrances to cemeteries can have one wreath donated by a church thanks to the initiative of its congregation. Church pastors are encouraged to communicate the wreath story within their worship service.     

Graves of many Fallen Heroes from all wars get wreaths from Boy Scout Troop 60 and their Gold Star Mothers and Families or relatives thanks to a donation from Price Chopper. Others are asked to procure the wreaths for those headstones.   

Veterans of all wars should receive a wreath laid by a member of their family. But here’s where community help is needed. Some family members may be deceased or live out of area. For them, you may get a wreath, go to the cemetery you are most familiar with, find the grave of a veteran and place an evergreen.  

Graves of veterans are marked with an American flag, a flag holder, a veterans memorial plaque on the back side of the headstone, or if a grave stone is flat on the ground look for a veterans inscription of name and branch of service. 

Each local family is asked to buy or make an evergreen wreath for placement on a veteran grave in their preferred cemetery. Here’s why. 

The mission of Wreaths Across America is to Remember the fallen who gave up their tomorrows with family and loved ones, so that we can enjoy our freedoms today. Honor those who served, the men and women of the armed forces who put themselves in harm’s way to protect us. Teach our children about the freedoms we enjoy each day, and the great cost at which they were purchased. 

The Tioga County Veterans Memorial and Tioga County Union Memorial in the Courthouse Square will have wreaths. 

Elsewhere in Tioga County, American Legion Posts in Nichols, Candor, Spencer Van Etten, and Waverly and VFW Posts in Waverly and Sayre, and Waverly Friends of the Cemetery will coordinate wreath laying and remembrance ceremonies. 

Thousands of wreaths will be laid at Arlington National Cemetery at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 14, and over 1,800 participating locations in all 50 states and two cemeteries on foreign soil where Tioga County Fallen Heroes have been buried since World War II.  

Why wreaths during the holidays? Be in a cemetery in the presence of a Gold Star Mother and Family or the families of veterans who have passed. They just want to know all those sacrifices and lost holidays were not in vein. Tioga County has 172 fallen heroes from all wars. Exact count is not known but an estimated 5,000 veterans are buried in our cemeteries.   

What Is Wreaths Across America? Visit www.info.wreathsacrossamerica.org.  Hear why it matters from the founder, an American Gold Star Mother who lost her son, and from the personal stories of those who serve and sacrifice. 

Local contact is Glenn A. Warner Post 1371 Veterans of Foreign Wars Memorial Chairman Jim Raftis, by email to jraftis2@stny.rr.com or by calling 687-4229. Our partners are all of you in the community. We couldn’t complete the mission without the help of many individuals, families, veterans, churches, and all organizations. Participants are asked to report what you are doing for a summary story. 

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