Wreath orders underway to honor veterans

The Wreaths Across America program coordinates wreath-laying ceremonies at more than 2,500 locations across the United States, at sea and around the world.

That occurs each year on the second or third Saturday of December.

This is the third year for the program to be conducted locally. The first year was in North Vernon, last year was in Seymour and this year is in Seymour again.

A ceremony will take place at noon Dec. 16 at Riverview Cemetery, 1603 Shields Ave., Seymour.

The Fort Vallonia Chapter of Daughters of the American Revolution coordinates the local program and encourages people to sponsor a wreath to honor or remember a military veteran.

There are options for individuals (one wreath for $17), families (five wreaths for $85), small businesses (10 wreaths for $170) and corporations (100 wreaths for $1,700).

Orders are being taken through Nov. 15. Order online at wreathsacrossamerica.org/IN0147P or email [email protected] to receive a copy of an order form.

“It actually honors two veterans because you purchase the wreath in honor or in memory of a veteran, and then on the day of Dec. 16 at noon, which is the day of the ceremony, we place that on another veteran’s grave,” Fort Vallonia DAR member Kathy Douglass said.

“Also, if someone wants a grave specific, if they are in Riverview Cemetery and they attend the service on Dec. 16, they are welcome to lay that wreath on that loved one’s grave,” she added.

Chapter Regent Diana Ray said people also can attend the ceremony and take a wreath they purchased to another cemetery to place on a veteran’s grave.

Ray said last year, nearly 100 wreaths were purchased, which was double the number of the previous year. Then during the ceremony in December, around 100 people attended.

The ceremony includes presentation of the colors, a 21-gun salute, a guest speaker and ceremonial wreath-layings for each branch of the military.

The local chapter also is seeking volunteers to help with the ceremony. Sign up at the previously mentioned website.

Wreaths Across America started in 2008 with more than 300 locations holding wreath-laying ceremonies in every state, Puerto Rico and 24 overseas cemeteries. More than 100,000 wreaths were placed on veterans’ graves, and more than 60,000 volunteers participated.

That same year, the U.S. Congress unanimously voted to create Wreaths Across America Day.

The wreath-laying is still held annually.

“The fact that it’s so big in Arlington (National Cemetery in Virginia), where they lay just thousands of wreaths there, I just think that’s really cool. It’s just a great way to honor veterans,” Douglass said.

“You’re not just doing it here. It’s people around the world at the same time,” Ray said. “Pretty much up and down the East Coast or in the Eastern Time Zone, we’ll all be doing it around the same time.”

Money raised from wreath sales helps support the work of the Fort Vallonia DAR to honor the country’s veterans and active military.