21 December, 2017
December 16 was National Wreaths Across America Day, during which ceremonies, like the one in Shelbyville, took place at the same time as the remembrance at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. Inspired and directed by a nonprofit organization by the same name, its objective is to remember fallen veterans, honor those who served and teach children the value of freedom.
With Kilgore's first Wreaths Across America remembrance relocated from Kilgore City Cemetery to the Harris Street monument, veterans laid wreaths to honor each branch of service - Army, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard, Air Force - with a final circle of green in honor of Prisoners of War and those Missing in Action.
Volunteers distributed 509 wreaths throughout the Hot Springs cemetery after a formal opening ceremony led by South Dakota Representative Tim Goodwin. The theme this year was "I'm an American", and was inspired by a song written by Maine singer-songwriter Rick Charette.
BHS students Dez Rader, Emily Dobbins, Morgan Knight, Vinnie LoBello, Hannah Bailey and Morgan Andrews place wreaths on graves at Ohio Western Reserve National Cemetery. Four years later, he participated in the landing at Normandy and then became the Military Governor of Cherbourg and Paris, France.
Wreath-laden trucks sponsored by Covenant Transport and U.S. Xpress delivered the wreaths to the cemetery.
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"We'd been talking about doing it for years", Felix said.
Wreaths Across America services were held all over the country during that chilly Saturday morning.
Justin Belmont shared why he came out, "It was emotional to place a marker for a fallen solider that has fought for our freedom and many of these soldiers died years ago and some of them have passed away recently in battle".
"I volunteered and I think it's great", she said. His song was sung during a stop on the escort of wreaths to Arlington National Cemetery previous year.
Thousands of people across the United States participate in the memorial, said 1st Lt. Darrell R. Smith, Commander of the Gregg County Squadron.