WREATHS ACROSS AMERICA — Veterans Memorial Wall ceremony

WREATHS ACROSS AMERICA — Veterans Memorial Wall ceremony

Last year, Jim Washburn (left) and Allen Webster, president and vice president of the Veterans Memorial Wall committee, respectively, placed wreaths on the Memorial Wall as part of the Wreaths Across America program.

RAMEY — The seventh annual national Wreaths Across America ceremony will be held Saturday, Dec. 19 at Beulah Cemetery, Ramey.

The ceremony will begin at noon. It will be followed by the placing of fresh balsam wreaths on the graves of veterans interred there. Wreaths will be coming from Wreaths Across America and are shipped from Maine.

The ceremony is open to the public and is outdoors, therefore attendees are reminded to dress accordingly if attending. All local guidelines concerning COVID-19 will be followed on the day of the ceremony.

During the ceremony, seven memorial wreaths and flags will be placed at the cemetery’s war memorial monument to recognize all branches of the armed services and those missing in action and prisoners of war. Honor guard duties will be by the Smithmill Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Houtzdale American Legion.

Sponsorships for the wreaths are still being accepted to ensure that every veteran’s grave will be covered this year. A wreath can be sponsored at a cost of $15 each. For additional information contact WAA Location Coordinator Robin Bowser at 378-6166 or online at www.wreathsacrossamerica.org/PA0326.

Those who have a loved one buried in Beulah Cemetery can also specify who their relative is and request that the sponsor’s wreath be placed on their grave. Sponsors are welcome to attend and lay the wreath themselves.

Wreaths will be delivered in a trailer owned by Tyson Foods and driven by local resident Ken Elbe, a volunteer partner of Wreaths Across America. Again this trailer will be escorted again from Clearfield through Philipsburg and continue to its destination at Beulah Cemetery.

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The trailer hauling the special memorial wreaths will be wrapped in patriotic colors to signify Wreaths Across America and the escort will be led by two members of the state police. The escort will consist of fire apparatus, emergency medical services, local police and vintage fire vehicles.

Any organization that would like to participate but has not contacted the committee is asked to contact Bowser at the above telephone number.

The escort will start at St. Francis School, Clearfield. Wreaths will also be placed at the American Legion monument, Clearfield and then proceed to Philipsburg where a stop will be made at the Veterans’ monument along U.S. Route 322 for a short ceremony and placing of wreaths.

“There was great response to the escort last year along the route. It is hoped that many more people and communities will get out along the route and show their support again this year on Dec. 19. This escort is an impressionable sight to see,” Bowser said.

Wreaths Across America started by placing wreaths in 1992 at Arlington Cemetery by a wreath maker from Maine, Morrill Worcester, who had a surplus of wreaths. The program became a national program in 2007 after people began hearing about wreaths being placed at Arlington National Cemetery with the Arlington escort. This year, approximately 2,000 cemeteries participate in the program during December in each of the 50 states and abroad at cemeteries where American veterans are buried.

As stated on its website, Wreaths Across America’s message is, “While we have Veterans Day in the fall and Memorial Day in the spring, our servicemen and women sacrifice their time and safety every single day of the year, to preserve our freedoms. And in many homes across the U.S., every day there is an empty seat for one who is serving, or one who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. That is why our mission to remember, honor and teach lasts all year long, far beyond the single day in December when wreath-laying ceremonies are held. All throughout the year, Wreaths Across America works in a number of ways to show veterans and their families that we will not forget—we will never forget.”

It continues to state, “Wreaths Across America also conducts several programs to honor veterans, including the popular ‘Thanks a Million’ campaign which distributes cards to people all over the country to give veterans a simple “thank you” for their service. WAA participates in veterans’ events throughout the year, and has a veteran liaison on staff to work with local veterans’ organizations. WAA is committed to teaching younger generations about the value of their freedoms, and the importance of honoring those who sacrificed so much to protect those freedoms. The organization offers learning tools, interactive media projects, and opportunities for youth groups to participate in the events. They also work to create opportunities to connect “the Greatest Generation” with the ‘Generation of Hope’, passing on inspirational stories from World War II veterans to the leaders of the future.”

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