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Wreaths Across America: Missourians Step Up to Honor Fallen Vets

Some 1.8 million wreaths were placed at the tombstones of fallen veterans during Wreaths Across America ceremonies in 2018. (U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command)
Some 1.8 million wreaths were placed at the tombstones of fallen veterans during Wreaths Across America ceremonies in 2018. (U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command)
December 13, 2019

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – During the busy holiday season, hundreds of Missourians will pause to remember fallen veterans as part of a national event.

On "Wreaths Across America Day" tomorrow, volunteers in all 50 states will place wreaths on veterans' headstones at more than 1,600 locations. Eleven ceremonies are planned in Missouri, including at Higginsville Veterans Cemetery.

David Meyer – director of American Legion Riders 258 – is organizing the event, which he says brings joy to veterans' families, who sometimes feel their loved ones' sacrifices have been forgotten.

"For the family members, they are just so happy,” says Meyer. “It's predominantly widows and the children of the veterans – they're really enthused that somebody is thinking about their loved one. They see a lot of hope that their loved one is always going to be remembered."

Wreaths Across America started in the early 1990s, with 5,000 wreaths placed at Arlington National Cemetery. In 2018, nearly 1.8 million wreaths were placed, each with the name of a veteran spoken aloud.

At Higginsville Veterans Cemetery, Director Carita Trent says they have roughly 2,900 wreaths, which for the first time will cover the entire cemetery.

"We're always taking donations for wreaths,” says Trent. “This year we were able to get every grave site covered, but, you know, we're always taking donations for next year already. So that way, we continue getting every grave site covered."

The mission of Wreaths Across America is "Remember, Honor and Teach," and Meyer notes Missourians from all walks of life and all ages are encouraged to participate.

"The youth programs like FFA, and 4H and the Scouts, they're really interested in participating,” says Meyer. “This is one way that they can really show their patriotism to the people that were willing to make that ultimate sacrifice."

Learn more or find a local event online at 'wreathsacrossamerica.org.'

Mary Schuermann Kuhlman, Public News Service - MO