Looking ahead to ‘Wreaths Across America’

POINT PLEASANT — The Colonel Charles Lewis Chapter, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution, will again participate in the Wreaths Across America grave marking ceremony.

This year’s event will take place on Saturday, Dec. 16 at noon in the Medal of Honor Park on Jackson Avenue, Point Pleasant. This is the designated time when ceremonies are held simultaneously at Arlington National Cemetery and over 1,100 locations across the United States.

Worcester Wreath Company of Harrington, Maine started the tradition of placing wreaths on the graves at Arlington National Cemetery in 1992. That year the company found itself with extra wreaths. Company founder, Morrill Worcester, who had visited Arlington as a child, made arrangements to lay those wreaths at Arlington.

After a picture of the wreaths in the snow at Arlington went viral, thousands of e-mails and letters were received by the Worcester Wreath Company offering assistance. The ceremonies went nationwide at over 230 locations.

In 2007, the non-profit group, Wreaths Across America was formed. The goal of Wreaths Across America is to “Remember – Honor – Teach.” Over 10,000 wreaths are laid each year at Arlington alone.

Assisting the Chapter with the ceremony last year were the Point Pleasant Chapter, Sons of the American Revolution, the Mason Gallia Meigs Marine Corps League and a veteran volunteer for each branch of the service as well as one for those either Prisoners of War or Missing in Action. After this emotional beginning the attendees moved to the cemeteries for the placing of wreaths.

After the ceremony, 91 wreaths were placed on veterans’ graves at Pioneer, Lone Oak and Suncrest cemeteries in Point Pleasant. Assisting the Chapter in the laying of wreaths to honor veterans were community volunteers, including Keegan and Ava Kirkpatrick who are being taught the sacrifice our veterans made by their grandmother, Susie Kirkpatrick.

How can you help? Wreath sponsors are needed. The cost is $15 per wreath. Each wreath is made from fresh pine greenery and adorned with a red bow. You may also purchase a Patriot Pair which allows you to donate a wreath to be placed upon a veteran’s grave and also receive a wreath shipped directly to you for placement on your loved one’s grave. The cost for a Patriot Pair is $40.

Wreaths Across America is also offering a Military Tribute Pair. Again a wreath is shipped to the Colonel Charles Lewis Chapter for placement on a veteran’s grave. You may designate the branch of service flag for the wreath that is shipped directly to you. The cost is $44.50. There are also family, small business and corporate sponsorships available.

All orders must be placed before Nov. 28 in order for the wreaths to arrive in time for the ceremony. Volunteers are also needed on Dec. 16 to assist with the laying of wreaths. If you wish to sponsor a wreath or volunteer, please contact the Chairman of our Service to Veterans committee, Diana Johnson, by e-mail at colonialdame@suddenlink.net.

By Diana Johnson

Special to the Register