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Wreaths Across America returns to Brookhaven

Each December, National Wreaths Across America Day is celebrated with wreath-laying ceremonies to remember U.S. veterans at Arlington National Cemetery and more than 2,100 other locations across the nation and around the world.

Saturday is this year’s day to remember the fallen, honor those who serve and teach the general public the value of freedom.

A brief ceremony will be conducted at 11 a.m. at Riverwood Memorial Park on Hwy. 51 South in Brookhaven. Following the ceremony, volunteers will be asked to help place 204 wreaths on the graves of fallen military personnel.

At the same time, 108 wreaths will be placed at Hazlehurst City Cemetery following a brief ceremony.

Ceremonies and wreath layings will take place at 10 a.m. at Wesson Cemetery and Georgetown Cemetery, also, with 204 wreaths to be laid in Wesson and 140 to be placed in Georgetown.

All of the ceremonies are open to the public, and attendees are encouraged to join in the wreath-laying process.

“We ask everyone to wear a mask and social distance while attending these events,” said Greg Marlow, post commander of Veterans of Foreign Wars Cpt. Danny D. Entrican Post 2618.

In previous years, hundreds of ceremonies were conducted in which wreaths were delivered to relay points and presented to local veterans and law enforcement personnel. In Brookhaven, that ceremony has been held at Easthaven Baptist Church. Terrance Turner, Walmart Distribution Center transportation manager, has served as passing ceremony organizer for the local events.

The balsam fir wreaths last year were presented by two military veteran drivers from Tennessee. Members of the Brookhaven High School JROTC accepted the wreaths and passed them on to the appropriate recipients to distribute them.

Due to COVID restrictions, no passing ceremony will be conducted this year. Only the wreath laying ceremonies will continue. Wreaths were delivered Tuesday to VFW Post 2618. Post Commander Marlow hopes people will take a little of their time Saturday to dedicate to the memories of the nation’s military who have died so their legacies will continue.

“A warrior dies twice,” Marlow said. “The first time is when they draw their last breath, and the second time is when someone speaks their name for the last time.”