Remembering veterans

All across the nation people are coming together to honor the memories of those who have served this country.

Wreaths Across America travels each year to place wreaths on veteran’s graves. The delivering of the wreaths to the different locations is know as the longest convoy in the United States. Wreaths Across America will be making a stop in Railroad Park on Thursday at 10 a.m. before continuing onto the Natchez National Cemetery. In Brookhaven, the drivers will be performing the “Changing of the Wreath,” where the driver of the incoming truck takes the wreath from the cab of the truck and hands it to the driver of that truck for the wreaths to be delivered to the next location.

The program, started in 1992 by William Worcester, began with the placing of a wreath on the grave of the “Unknown Soldier” at Arlington National Cemeter. It is stated that there was an event in the area of the cemetery where they had some wreaths left over after the event, and they did not want to throw them away. They decided to take the wreaths to The Arlington National Cemetery and place them on the grave of the “Unknown Soldier” and as many veteran’s graves as possible. Some veterans saw them and liked the idea. They wanted to help with the program.

In 2007, the Worcester family, along with veterans and others who helped with their annual Christmas wreath ceremony in Arlington, formed “Wreaths Across America”, to continue expanding this effort, and support other groups around the country who wants to do the same. This nonprofit organization continues the Arlington tradition as part of its mission to remember, honor and teach. The ceremony is not only done at Arlington National Cemetery but also at other national and state veterans cemeteries.

The ceremony takes place on a specified Saturday in December. On Saturday at 11 a.m. the Natchez National Cemetery, wreaths will be placed on grave markers. The event is open to the public. For directions to the cemetery, call 601-445-4981, 601-823-1128 or contact the Natchez Visitors Center at 640 S. Canal St. phone 601-446-6345.

In 2013, Wreaths Across America and their national network of volunteers laid 540,000 memorial wreaths at over 900 locations in all 50 states, ceremonies at sea and 24 national cemeteries on foreign soil. They accomplished this with help from 1,659 fundraising groups, many corporate contributions and donations of trucking, shipping and thousands of helping hands. The Wreaths Across America annual pilgrimage from Harrington, Maine, to Arlington National Cemetery is known as the world’s largest veteran parade, stopping at schools, monuments, veteran’s homes and communities along the way to remind people how important it is to remember and honor our veterans.

In 2014 their goal was to make 740,00 wreathes. The project is supported locally by the American Legion Post 12. If anyone would like to purchase wreaths for this program please call Rex Smith at 601-823-1128. Also, a check can be mailed for the total amount of wreaths at $15.00 per wreath payable to the American LEGION post 12 to KEITH REEVES AT 121W. Enterprise St. Brookhaven, Ms. 39601.