Sunday, December 14, 2014

Wreaths Across America

On the second Saturday of December each year, across our nation we honor our veterans who have died.  Wreaths Across America is a wonderful program that focuses on Remembering, Honoring, and Teaching, and one of their biggest projects is laying wreath on these fallen heroes' graves.   

Yesterday I was up before dawn to drive to San Bruno for the Wreaths Across America ceremony at Golden Gate National Cemetery.  It was the first time I've participated and it was incredibly moving and rewarding. Two friends met me there.

The Golden Gate National Cemetery is huge, with headstones 
as far as the eye can see in every direction.
The Stuart Highlanders Piper Band set the tone before the program began
 with beautiful bagpipe music.
 The Sons of the American Revolution were on hand to present 
the Colors for the National Anthem and Pledge of Allegiance.
The Patriot Riders Motorcycle Club rolled in before the ceremony began and took posts, holding American flags.  One read a very moving poem he wrote.

A military officer for each branch of the service, as well as POW/MIAs, presented a special wreath.  Especially moving was when a couple rose and presented a gold-ribboned wreath for Gold Star Parents -- those who have lost a child in a war.
At 9:00 a.m. we paused for a moment of silence.  Across the nation, even at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington D.C., all Wreaths Across America participants were pausing at the same time.

After the ceremony, we split into two groups.  One group placed wreaths in rows in a certain section.  This year we were placing wreaths on the graves of servicemen and women who had served in Iraq and Afghanistan.  My DAR chapter raised the funds to place 51 of those wreaths.
Others of us picked up special wreaths and drove and walked around the cemetery to find where these special wreaths should be placed.  I thought about my father, a Navy man, and although he is not buried at this cemetery, I was doing this in his honor as well.

December is a very busy time, a time for merriment, parties, and presents.  But for these families who have lost loved ones who served our country, it means the world to them to know someone honored their loved one.  Let us not forget.

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