Wreaths Across America

John Babbitt
Area veterans groups participated Saturday in the annual "Wreaths Across America" ceremony at the National Cemetery in Bath. The program, officially recognized by the U.S. Congress in 2008, includes wreath-laying ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery, veterans' cemeteries and other locations in all 50 states and overseas.

Wreaths Across America is working hard this holiday season to fulfill its goal to honor every veteran buried at Arlington National Cemetery – 220,000 in total – with a commemorative wreath.

Remembrance ceremonies were held nationwide at noon Saturday, Dec. 10, about 700 ceremonies across all 50 states and in American National Cemeteries overseas.

The theme for 2011 is “The Christmas They Never Had.” This year it is projected that more than 400,000 wreaths will be placed.

Beginning at 11 a.m., about 60 volunteers from around the area braved cold temperatures to help distribute 200 wreaths at the Bath National Cemetery according to Denis Oliver, Steuben County American Legion commander and Steuben County veterans service officer.

At noon a moment of silence was observed. Six members of area veterans groups next presented wreaths. Representing the U.S. Army was Robert D’Apice from Arkport; John Cubit, retired master chief petty officer, U.S. Navy; Wally Anderson, Marine Corps; John McKelvey, Air Force; Jack Tangen, Coast Guard; class, Merchant Marines and POW/MIA representative Glenn Anderson, U.S. Marine Corps.

Color Guards participating in the event were from Wayland and Corning. The ceremony closed with the playing of taps by Jean Williams from the Wayland Honor Guard.

Earlier in the week, a group from the Southwest and Southern Tier Elks had placed wreaths at the 28 grave sites of unknown soldiers from the War of 1812.

The Wreaths Across America tradition began over 20 years ago when Morrill Worcester of the Worcester Wreath Company from Harrington, Maine, initiated a tradition of donating and placing wreaths on the headstones of fallen heroes at Arlington National Cemetery. Recognition of the service and sacrifice of our veterans and their families is especially poignant during the traditional holiday season.

For more information, visit wreathacrossamerica.com.

Area veterans groups participated Saturday in the annual "Wreaths Across America" ceremony at the National Cemetery in Bath. The program, officially recognized by the U.S. Congress in 2008, includes wreath-laying ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery, veterans' cemeteries and other locations in all 50 states and overseas.