A living balm wreath, adorned with a bright red bow, placed on the headstone of a local veteran – a local women’s group dedicated to honoring the U.S. military wants to place at least 840 of them.
For the first time, four Greenwood County cemeteries are joining National Wreath Day across America. Wreaths Across America is a national, non-profit organization that each year on December 18 places wreaths on the gravestones of veterans to honor their sacrifices.
The Mount Ariel chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution pushed to bring the crowns to Greenwood. Members are working with Oakbrook Memorial Park, Edgewood, Evening Star and Elmwood cemeteries, seeking to place around 840 wreaths in total.
âThis is a colossal project,â said Karen Petit, local member of the DAR. “We hope it grows out of these four cemeteries and that other organizations join in in the future.”
Helen Nazzaro, DAR Mount Ariel Chapter Regent, serves as the coordinator for local wreath efforts. People can sponsor laying a wreath on a loved one’s headstone for $ 15, and a portion of the funds go to raise money for future veterans honor projects by the DAR.
âMy goal, and that of the committee, is to unify our community in these troubled times by coming together for a common cause. Grief and loss cover all aspects of society, âNazzaro said in a press release. âHonoring the loved ones of deceased veterans is a central truth that can unite us while allowing us to honor our common history of defending our country. Achieving this goal is one of the reasons we contacted several cemeteries in the first year. “
Wreaths will be placed on headstones after a noon ceremony on December 18 at Oakbrook Cemetery. The ceremony is free and open to the public.
This effort to honor veterans comes at an emotional time, said Petit, in the context of the 20th year since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and the recall of troops from Afghanistan. She said ahead of the wreath ceremony, Wreaths Across America will also feature its mobile education exhibit – a mobile military museum with a patriotic theme.
The MEE will be open to the public from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on November 18 at the Greenwood County Veterans Center. That morning, alongside the opening of the exhibit, veterans will host a ‘Welcome Home’ event for Vietnam War veterans, with members of the DAR aiming to send invitations to veterans. fighters. Anyone wishing to request the participation of a Vietnam veteran they know is welcome to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
These programs are part of the mission of the DAR. Petit said the group has been around for more than 125 years nationwide, aimed at people whose ancestors served during the American Revolution. They are doing service projects and looking for ways to honor American veterans.
âWe are focused on historic preservation, conservation and supporting our military,â said Petit. âTo have a long family history involved in the American wars, to have heard the stories of my father and to know that my family dates back to the early days of our Republic, it means honoring the many generations of women and men whose dedication and sacrifice made our country the great place it is today.
Petit cited an often-heard refrain: Veterans die twice, once at the end of their life and once when they are forgotten.
“By placing the crowns, we will pronounce their names, so that they are not forgotten,” she said.
For more information on the local organization of Wreaths Across America, visit the Facebook page launched by the organizers at bit.ly/3mKMSRx
Contact editor-in-chief Damian Dominguez at 864-634-7548 or follow us on Twitter @IJDDOMINGUEZ.