Wreaths Across America honors veterans

Published Oct 2, 2017 at 4:00pm

One man’s tribute to our veterans inspired a legion of volunteers and gave rise to the Wreaths Across America of today. 

This annual tradition to honor those who served our country began in 1992, when Morrill Worcester, the owner of a Maine wreath company, sent 5,000 excess wreaths which were placed on graves by 50 volunteers. Soon, this beautiful tribute caught on in other communities, including our area where a local group is again organizing ceremonies to take place at six area cemeteries where green remembrance wreaths will be placed on veterans’ graves.

The Greater Rome-Utica Chapter of the Military Officers Association of America, in conjunction with the national Wreaths Across America organization and with the help of the local community, will be placing these wreaths. Identifying veterans, organizing the event, coordinating with local cemeteries, and securing sponsors and volunteers is no small task — and this group performs these tasks admirably and professionally with the sole purpose of trying to ensure that these veterans are not forgotten at this special time of year.

Wreaths will be placed on veterans’ graves at Arlington National Cemetery and at more than 1,200 other U.S. memorials and cemeteries, including Rome Cemetery, the St. Mary’s, St. Peter’s, St. John’s cemeteries in Rome, the Evergreen Cemetery in Lee and the Westernville Cemetery in Westernville.

Last year, the Wreaths Across America organization placed more than one million wreaths, with more than 350,000 alone at Arlington. At the local cemeteries, more than 1,300 wreaths were placed.

For more information, to volunteer, or to sponsor wreaths, contact Robert Haley by phone at 315-336-4220, by email at lakeeffect2@verizon.net, or by mail at 9434 Sly Hill Road, Ava 13303.

It is a noteworthy and caring way to remember our nation’s fallen heroes during the holidays.