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The Steuben Courier Advocate
  • Wreaths laid at Bath National Cemetery

  • In a solemn, snowy ceremony Saturday, veterans, their families, friends and supporters gathered at the Bath National Cemetery to honor those who had fallen in defense of our country.
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  • In a solemn, snowy ceremony Saturday, veterans, their families, friends and supporters gathered at the Bath National Cemetery to honor those who had fallen in defense of our country.
    The event was part of Wreaths Across America, a national event created to honor service men and women who have died. More than 800 locations across the country are participating in the event simultaneously.
    Lisa Wilkins, location leader for Bath's Wreaths Across America event, said that this year 351 wreaths were purchased for the event. The wreaths cost $15 apiece and are purchased through donations.
    "This is one of the highest number of wreaths we've had," Wilkins said. "Next year we are shooting for 500."
    Scattered among the grizzled vets who attended Saturday's ceremony were more than 20 children. Some came with organizations while others came with family members to honor a lost loved one.
    Rachel Rouland, president of the 7th District American Legion Junior Auxiliary, said it was important for teenagers and children to attend ceremonies like Saturday's wreath laying.
    "If not for the people in this cemetery, we wouldn't be where we are or have what we have in this country," Rouland said.
    Veteran Ruth Verbanic said Saturday's ceremony was an important reminder at this time of year of the men and women who gave the gift of their lives in defense of freedom.
    "This is the first year I've come," Verbanic said. "I got an email about it and I said to myself, 'I have to do this.'"
    The first Wreaths Across America was held in 1992 when Morrill Worcester donated 5,000 to the Arlington National Cemetery. In 2007 the event went nationwide.
    In 2012 more than 400,000 wreaths were placed in cemeteries across the country. Last year also marked the one-millionth wreath placed.
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