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Wreaths Across America Holds Seventh Observance in Lamar

 

This past Saturday, December 15th marked the seventh annual observance of Wreaths Across America at the veteran’s section of Fairmount Cemetery in Lamar under the direction of Peacock Funeral Home.

Close to 100 persons, mostly family and friends of the departed were on hand to distribute holiday wreaths of green pine decorated with a simple red ribbon at gravesites in the cemetery.  “We had about 360 wreaths this year,” said John Sykes of the funeral home.  Several area youth laid  wreaths at the memorial near the front entrance of the cemetery off Memorial Drive, one for each of the branches of the military; Army, Navy, Marine, Air Force, Merchant Marines and Coast Guard.  A separate wreath was laid in honor of the 93,129 servicemen from the combined branches whose last known status was either Prisoners of War or Missing in Action.

The local American Legion Post #71 conducted a traditional 21 gun salute followed by “Taps”.  Participating clubs and organizations included the Lamar VFW Post #3621, Lamar Cub Scout Pack #223, Lamar Boy Scout Pack #218 and Lamar Girl Scouts.  Following a minute of silence to honor the fallen, the Boy Scouts presented the colors, the flags of our nation.

The idea to honor fallen soldiers during the holidays began in 1992 with just an idea that received continued support across the country, placing wreaths in one of the older sections of Arlington Cemetery where the number of visitors had begun to diminish.  Since then the event has grown across America.

In 2008, over 300 locations held wreath-laying ceremonies in every state, Puerto Rico and 24 overseas cemeteries. Over 100,000 wreaths were placed on veterans’ graves. Over 60,000 volunteers participated. And that year, December 13, 2008 was unanimously voted by the US Congress as “Wreaths Across America Day”.

In 2014, Wreaths Across America and its national network of volunteers laid over 700,000 memorial wreaths at 1,000 locations in the United States and beyond, including ceremonies at the Pearl Harbor Memorial, as well as Bunker Hill, Valley Forge and the sites if the September 11 tragedies. This was accomplished with help from 2,047 fundraising groups, corporate contributions, and donations of trucking, shipping, and thousands of helping hands. The organization’s goal of covering Arlington National Cemetery was met in 2014 with the placement of 226,525 wreaths.

By Russ Baldwin

Filed Under: City of LamarCountyEventsFeaturedHistory

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