Wreaths Across America honors heroes

HENDRY COUNTY — Wreaths Across America Day is an annual tribute to veterans, where donated wreaths are laid throughout cemeteries nationwide, in an act that aspires to raise awareness of the sacrifices veterans make for our country. It is observed on a Saturday in mid-December each year. This year it was on Dec. 14.

Lake Okeechobee News/Danika J. Hopper
Remembrance wreaths were placed on local veterans’ graves for Wreaths Across America Day, Saturday, Dec. 14.

It all started when a wreath company owned by Morrill Worcester found themselves with a surplus of wreaths toward the end of the season, back in 1992. Mr. Worcester began thinking about a childhood visit to the Arlington National Cemetery, and realized he had an opportunity to pay homage to fallen veterans. Arrangements were made for the wreaths to be placed at Arlington in one of the older sections of the cemetery that had been receiving fewer visitors with each passing year. American Legion halls, VFW posts and other organizations began to join in, and the movement began to grow.

“The annual tribute went on quietly for several years, until 2005, when a photo of the stones at Arlington, adorned with wreaths and covered in snow, circulated around the internet. Suddenly, the project received national attention. Thousands of requests poured in from all over the country from people wanting to help with Arlington, to emulate the Arlington project at their local national and state cemeteries, or to simply share their stories and thank Morrill Worcester for honoring our nation’s heroes,” said Natalie Weisten, who has been volunteering to transport wreaths to South Florida for several years. Cemeteries in Hendry, Glades and Lee counties received remembrance wreaths this year, laid upon the graves of our local heroes.

Lake Okeechobee News/Danika J. Hopper

Growing up in Hendry County, Scott Perry said this was the first year he had seen this event so widely celebrated in these parts. He placed a remembrance wreath on veteran and childhood friend Robert Lucia’s grave at the Fort Denaud Cemetery. “I’m glad to be part of this tradition, to be able to honor and remember him. He was a good friend,” he said. He also paid homage at the next grave over, which was Robert’s father, Gary Lucia, also a veteran.

Sherrie Easterly, a local resident and active community member, posted on Facebook, “My brother Joe, and I today had the privilege of placing the Christmas wreath for all veterans, on our parents’ grave. My mother was Navy and my father was Army.”

Amber Golden, a local, hardworking mom, posted a photo of the wreaths they placed for veterans in the Alva Cemetery, with the caption, “Wreaths Across America, honoring veterans with my DAR & CAR family.”

Remembrance wreaths can be seen on veterans’ graves throughout our community’s cemeteries through the holiday season. What a wonderful way to remind people how important it is to remember and honor our veterans.

You are encouraged to leave relevant comments but engaging in personal attacks, threats, online bullying or commercial spam will not be allowed. All comments should remain within the bounds of fair play and civility. (You can disagree with others courteously, without being disagreeable.) Feel free to express yourself but keep an open mind toward finding value in what others say. To report abuse or spam, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box.

Facebook Comment