Community pays tribute in ‘Wreaths Across America’ ceremony

Published 12:08 am Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Their names were read aloud. One by one, the men and women who gave their lives for this country were honored at Trinity Memorial Gardens on Saturday. It was part of the annual Wreaths Across America tribute, where people gather at cemeteries and remember the fallen, before laying Christmas wreaths on their gravestones. 

This year, Trinity was one of more than 4,225 participating locations where the ceremonies took place, including Arlington National Cemetery. Event organizers estimate that across the country, more than three million veterans were honored this year. 

“I think it’s phenomenal that so many people from different walks of life, different backgrounds, different races and cultures, can come together to remember the fallen, pay tribute to those who served and honor those of whom are still serving,” said Silas Blanton. He serves as Commander for American Legion Post 32. 

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It’s heartwarming to witness family members, friends and loved ones participating in the laying of the wreaths,” Blanton said after the ceremony. “I hope this tribute will continue for generations to come.” 

A number of different groups took part in this year’s event, ranging from the Daughters of the American Revolution to Boy Scouts and the Cumberland County High School’s JROTC cadets.

Wreaths Across America breakdown

 A Wreaths Across America ceremony is meant to focus on remembering. For centuries, fresh evergreens were used to symbolize honor and a living tribute of sorts. The goal here is to do something similar, laying Christmas wreaths at the graves of soldiers in a living memorial that also honors veterans, active duty military and their families. When volunteers say the name of a soldier aloud while placing the wreath, organizers believe it ensures they live on in people’s hearts and memories. 

“What I love most about this day, and this mission, is that it is so much more than just the placement of a wreath,” said Wreaths Across America Director Karen Worcester. “The wreath is the catalyst, it brings together communities – families and strangers — to learn about those who have served and sacrificed. We have more than three million volunteers across the country and a third of them are children. This mission and the events happening today provide the opportunity to teach kids about what freedom is.”

Following the annual Wreaths Across America event at Trinity Memorial Gardens on Saturday,, a group of local veterans also laid wreaths at the Prince Edward County War Memorial Monument. They honored the memory of men and women of Prince Edward County who served their country and paid the supreme sacrifice in World War I, World War II, the Korean and Vietnam Wars, plus the Iraqi conflict.