More than 300 volunteers placed 1,225 veterans’ wreaths at Oak Ridge Memorial Park on December 17 as part of National Wreaths Across America Day.
The day was commemorated at about 3,700 locations across the country, a press release said.
“Our heroes were remembered and honored as volunteers safely placing a total of 2.7 million veterans’ wreaths on headstones nationwide, while saying each name out loud,” the press release said. “Wreaths Across America would like to thank the community, dedicated volunteers, generous sponsors, essential truck drivers, area officials, and members of the media for coming together in unity and supporting those who have protected our freedom. Each person has played an important part in the mission to remember the fallen, honor those that serve and their families, and teach the next generation the value of freedom.”
Oak Ridge Mayor Warren Gooch represented the city at its third annual Wreaths Across America Ceremony.
“Hundreds of people attended and assisted in paying tribute to our local veterans. It was truly an inspiring and emotional event,” Gooch said.
Oak Ridge High School Navy JROTC (Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps) helped arrange and conduct the opening ceremonies of the event under the guidance of Eddie Lindsey, local Wreaths Across America organizer, and Oak Ridge Memorial Gardens, the press release said.
Tennessee Lieutenant Governor Randy McNally and State Representative John Ragan also spoke about the importance of the event to the community and country, the release said. Oak Ridge City Council members Chuck Hope, Charlie Hensley, and Sean Gleason also attended.
“Each live, balsam veteran’s wreath was a gift of respect and appreciation, sponsored by an individual or organization and placed on a headstone by volunteers as a small gesture of gratitude for the freedoms Americans enjoy,” the press release said. “For centuries, fresh evergreens have been used as a symbol of honor and have served as a living tribute renewed annually. Wreaths Across America believes the tradition represents a living memorial that honors veterans, active-duty military, and their families. When each wreath is placed, the service member’s name is said out loud, ensuring their memory lives on.
“As we honor our veterans, we also honor the host grounds for allowing the mission to be fulfilled with a follow-up effort of wreath retirement or clean up.”
This year’s wreath retirement will be at 9 a.m. January 21, at Oak Ridge Memorial Park, which is located at 1501 Bethel Valley Road. Volunteers are needed to help, and they should dress appropriately for the weather, the press release said.
For more information, visit www.wreathsacrossamerica.org/TNORMP to help volunteers get started on this year’s National Wreaths Across America Day. It will be Saturday, December 16, and the theme is, “Serve and Succeed”. Wreaths sponsored through a local sponsorship group will be matched by Wreaths Across America headquarters through January 17.
Wreaths Across America is a nonprofit organization founded to continue and expand the annual wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery begun by Maine businessman Morrill Worcester in 1992, the press release said. The organization’s mission—”Remember, Honor, Teach”—is carried out in part each year by coordinating wreath-laying ceremonies in December at Arlington, as well as at thousands of veterans’ cemeteries and other locations in all 50 states and beyond.
For more information or to sponsor a wreath please visit www.wreathsacrossamerica.org.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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