To be killed in war is not the worst that can happen. To be lost is not the worst that can happen… to be forgotten is the worst.”
In September I wrote about a mentoring opportunity I was given to overshadow a high school senior planning an event for her senior project. Being an active member of her schools JROTC program she decided to plan and execute an event honoring deceased veterans through the Wreaths Across America organization. My grandfather honorably served time in the Army and I currently have friends and family serving now in various branches of the United States military. I was honored to be able to help her any every way I could.
The Wreath’s Across America organization makes a promise to remember the fallen, honor those that serve and their families and, teach our children the value of freedom. What began in 1992 with a trailer load of wreaths, decorated by volunteers and laid at the graves of fallen soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery has now become a national organization with over 900 participating locations – all focused on the mission to Remember – Honor – Teach.
One of those locations was the Scenic Memorial Gardens Cemetery in Wilkesboro, NC. The weather was oddly warm for mid-December but for an outdoor event, you couldn’t have wanted anything else. Through various media outlets, a good-sized crowd of about 30-40 people showed up to participate in the ceremony and honor our local heroes that have fallen.
The organization provides a timeline and suggested script for the event. Most of the details were pre-planned, leaving Ms. Walker to execute and complete smaller details such as contacting media outlets, obtaining donations for the wreaths, and confirming speakers for the event. The support this community has for its military is strong, making it easier to obtain donations successfully. While at the event, a couple attendees were still trying to donate.
Each family member was to be escorted by a member of the JROTC leaving Ms. Walker alone to hand wreaths out as quickly as possible. To keep her from running back and forth, I became her legs so she could graciously greet each attendee. It was minor but I was happy to have something to do. I’ve decided I like to be active at social events…
Wreaths Across America conducts several programs throughout the year to honor our Veterans, including their popular “Thanks a Million” campaign which distributes cards to people all over the country giving Veterans a simple “thank you” for their service. They also have a Veteran liaison on staff to work with local Veterans organizations.