December 16, 2017 10:45 PM
Wreaths were placed at over 1,000 locations across the U.S. on Saturday to honor fallen veterans during this holiday season.
It's for Wreaths Across America which is an organization that has been honoring fallen veterans for 26 years. At the Northern Wisconsin Veterans Cemetery in Spooner, volunteers laid over 400 wreaths as part of that mission.
"It is a recognition of people that have gone before that are forgotten," Alan Foeckler, a Lt. Colonel in the Civil Air Patrol, who helps organize the ceremony, said.
The ceremony is performed at cemeteries across the nation and they all begin at the same time, but each ceremony may be a little different.
"Our unit decided to have the cadets conduct most of the service," Foeckler said.
At the Northern Wisconsin Veterans Cemetery, the Civil Air Patrol leads the ceremony. It's meant to teach, which is one of the three pillars of the Wreaths Across America organization.
"It's an opportunity that the founder wanted to teach children how to respect and honor our veterans," Dawn Anderson, the Director of the Northern Wisconsin Veterans Cemetery said.
Anderson said their ceremony just continues to grow.
"We're surprised with the size of the response from the community," Foeckler said.
They started by laying out around 16 wreaths, then grew to over 100 last year, but this year surpassed all expectation with around 440 wreaths.
"The parking lot is full and it goes down to our entrance, so that is just a wonderful way to feel good about what you're doing," Anderson said.
For veterans still living, it's a way to honor their brothers and sisters in the service.
"We're here today to honor the memory of our friend Ed Perry," Ron Boelk, of Sarona, said. "We were both in the Air Force and we met him after we moved here, but became very close friends"
For them, placing the wreaths is a way to honor a battle they all fought.
"Just to remember the times when I was there, he was there, and the things we went through," Boelk said. "It was so nice to sit there and see all the people who are remembering the loved ones."
The growing tradition has become a way to make sure fallen veterans are never forgotten.
Anyone can sponsor a wreath at different cemeteries by going to the Wreaths Across America Website.
Updated: December 16, 2017 10:45 PM
Created: December 16, 2017 04:08 PM
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