• Long Beach Breeze

Wreaths Across America volunteers sponsors sought

By Dom Fimiano

The Long Beach Board of Alderman recently approved a request from the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) request to conduct a wreath-laying ceremony at the Long Beach Cemetery. The ceremony, set for Saturday, December 18, will honor deceased veterans as part of the nationwide Wreaths Across America program.

This year, National Wreaths Across America Day will be held on December 18. This will be the fourth year VFW Post 3937 and American Legion Post 1995 will be participating in the national program. The ceremony will begin at 1 p.m. that day, and the public is invited to attend. In addition, volunteers who would like to assist in the wreath-laying are welcome, as organizers say volunteers are necessary for a successful wreath-laying ceremony.

In December 1992, wreath maker Morrill Worcester found himself with a surplus of 5,000 wreaths during the holiday season. Worcester saw the surplus as an opportunity to pay tribute to the country's veterans and arranged for the wreaths to be placed at Arlington National Cemetery. The annual tribute to veterans has continued ever since, touching the lives of millions of veterans' families and volunteers, growing in scope through the years.

In 2007, the Worcester family, along with veterans and volunteers, formed the non-profit organization Wreaths Across America to expand their efforts and to support those around the country who wished to do the same. Wreaths Across America's mission is simple: Remember the fallen, honor those who serve, and teach the next generation about the value of freedom. In 2020, Wreaths Across America and its national network of volunteers, in spite of COVID-19 restrictions, placed approximately 1.7 million veterans' wreaths at more than 2,500 locations in all fifty U.S. states, at sea, and abroad.

In 2020, with the financial support of businesses, organizations, veterans’ families, and friends, the Long Beach Wreaths Across America effort laid a wreath at every one of the more than two hundred known veteran’s gravesites in and around Long Beach, and the group intends to do the same this year, with current plans to lay wreaths at 261 gravesites.

Residents who know of a veteran at the cemetery who does not have a gravesite indication that he/she is a veteran are encouraged to let the organization know so that they can ensure that he/she also receives a wreath.

Each handmade, fresh, live wreath costs $15 and is made in the USA with Maine balsam. Wreaths for veterans interred at cemeteries other than the Long Beach Cemetery and neighboring cemeteries can also be sponsored and picked up on the afternoon of December 18.

For those who wish to remember and honor deceased veterans, sponsorships and donations can be accepted until December 18 and can be mailed or delivered to VFW Post 3937, 213 Klondyke Road, Long Beach MS 39560 or mailed to American Legion Post 1995, PO Box 550, Long Beach MS 39560.

For those who are sponsoring a wreath, the organization requests that you include the name of the person who is being sponsored.

For more information, contact Charles Martinek at 228-236-4200.

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