Wreaths Across America comes to, through Brookhaven

Published 1:01 pm Thursday, December 14, 2023

National Wreaths Across America Day is Saturday, Dec. 16. More than two million volunteers and supporters will gather to “remember, honor and teach” at more than 4,000 participating locations in all 50 states, at sea, and abroad.

On Thursday, more than five dozen people gathered at Walmart Distribution Center in Brookhaven for a passing of the wreaths ceremony.

Thousands of the green balsam wreaths — assembled in Maine and hand-tied with red velvet bows — arrived in Brookhaven Thursday morning in two Walmart tractor-trailer trucks. Two Walmart drivers, also veterans of the Armed Forces, delivered the trailers from Midway, Tennessee. An Army ROTC cadet presented the wreaths to the two drivers, who in turn presented them to local Walmart drivers Johnny Quinn and Joe Quipley. Quinn is an Army veteran with 2.5 million miles of safe driving for Walmart. Quipley is a veteran of the Marine Corps, with 1 million miles of safe driving for Walmart.

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After the service, the two 18-wheeler trucks were escorted toward Opelousas by a Troop M Mississippi Highway Patrol trooper, and members of the Patriot Guard Riders on motorcycles.

Some of the wreaths will remain in the Lincoln County area, while others will travel on to Opelousas, Louisiana, Houston, Texas, and other places in Mississippi. One wreath will be placed on the Lincoln County Veterans Memorial in front of the Lincoln County/Brookhaven Government Complex, in memory of Brookhaven Police officers Kevin White and Zach Moak. One will be taken to the MHP Memorial in Jackson. A third wreath was accepted in honor of current Armed Forces members and their families. A final wreath will be placed in downtown Brookhaven on the memorial marker of Lt. Danny D. Entrican.

The Wreaths Across America organization began in 1992 and has since developed into the nation’s largest military parade. Its purpose is to honor the memories of slain service men and women, and to educate the next generation about military sacrifice.

Anyone who would like to sponsor a wreath can do so at a cost of $17 each. Sponsorships can be purchased through Riverwood Family Funeral Service or Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2618, both in Brookhaven, or online at wreathsacrossamerica.org. Wreaths can be sponsored in honor or memory of a specific veteran, or sponsored to be laid on the gravesite of any veteran.

In 2022, 609 transfer truck loads of wreaths were delivered across the country to be placed on gravesites.

This year on Dec. 16, Riverwood Family Funeral Service in Brookhaven will host a noon ceremony, followed by wreath laying in Riverwood Memorial Park.

Socks for Heroes will host a ceremony at noon at the American Legion in Wesson, followed by wreath laying in Wesson Cemetery.

Watch a video of Thursday’s ceremony here.