Remember, Honor and TeachDec 21, 2023 10:30AM ● By Elise Spleiss
Members of General John A. Sutter Daughters of the American Revolution stand at the Court of Honor in Mount Vernon Memorial. From left to right: Carol Keller; Gayle-Ann Johnson; Diana Weller; Sue Frost; Deborah Bartlett; Jacquie Gariano; Lynn Terleski-Katz; Diana Poppert; Ginger Reed. In front: Celeste Cox. Photo courtesy of Sue Frost
SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) -The Wreaths Across America (WAA) tradition of laying wreaths on the graves of those fallen military throughout our history, took place on Saturday, December 16 at Mt. Vernon Memorial Park and Mortuary in Fair Oaks. Coordinator and Master of Ceremonies Celeste Cox greeted all attending.
Saturday, December 16, 2023, also marked the 250th anniversary of the Boston Tea Party, the event which eventually led to the sparking of the American Revolution which began in Massachusetts on April 19, 1775. These brave soldiers fought the fight for freedom against the British which eventually led to the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.
As we celebrate the mission of Wreaths Across America to ‘commemorate the fallen (including Prisoners of War and Missing in Action), honor those who served and their families, and teach the next generation the value of freedom,’ it is important to know that we are not decorating their grave to remember their deaths but their lives.
Cox reminded us that “Today we show a united front of gratitude and respect with others across the United States of America as we remember the fallen, honor those who have served and their families, and teach the next generation the value of freedom.
The 2023 ceremony at Mt. Vernon continued this tradition by joining the over 2 million wreaths laid at more than 4,000 locations military, including military, local and national cemeteries in all 50 states at sea and abroad.
The day began with the Pledge of Allegiance, and the Posting of Colors and flag folding by Del Campo High ROTC. Pastor Scott Guemmer sang the National Anthem.
As is tradition at Mt. Vernon, members of the Casa Robles ROTC placed one ceremonial wreath for each branch of the military at a place of honor before the Wall of Honor. They were placed in memory of those who served and are serving in the U.S. Army, U.S Marine Corp, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Space Force, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Merchant Marines. Finally, a final wreath was placed in honor of the over 93,129 servicemen of all branches of the service whose last known status was of POW or MIA, who have never returned to their families and homes. We shall never forget.
Each wreath is not just a symbol but a personal testament to the valor and sacrifices of those who served. Following Taps family, friends, veterans, and other community volunteers took one of the 300 wreaths purchased for the occasion and placed it on the grave of someone who fought for our country, while saying their name.
An important aspect of Wreaths Across America is the participation of community groups. From local schools and veteran’s organizations to various civic groups, the event has become a unifying force, bringing together people from all walks of life to honor those who served.
A notable feature of the 2023 event is its focus on youth involvement through educational activities. These initiatives aim to instill a deeper understanding and respect for military service in the younger generation. President Ronald Reagan said, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.” By engaging children in learning about the sacrifices of veterans, the event ensures that the legacy of remembrance and gratitude is passed on to future generations.
Following the laying of a wreath attendees were invited to visit the Remembrance Tree, write the name of a loved one who had been or is in the military on a dog tag and hang it on the tree. The tree will be there through January of 2024.
The 2023 event, underscores the importance of remembering the past, honoring the present, and educating the future, ensuring that the sacrifices of veterans are forever etched in the heart of American history.
Two organizations, Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) and Armed Women of America (AWA) a nonprofit whose motto is “Armed, Brave and Competent,” educates and equips women to be their own self-defense, are both active in the Wreaths Across America event.
Wreaths are always needed. They may be purchased year-round and will be held until the event in December 2024. Until January 16, 2024, if one wreath is purchased two more will be added to the count. If three are purchased six will be donated. Visit: www.wreathsacrossamerica.org.