Honoring those who served

Graves decorated with wreaths sit in the Alabama National Cemetery Dec. 11, 2010. (Reporter Photo/Jon Goering)

By CHRISTINE BOATWRIGHT / Staff Writer

MONTEVALLO – This December, evergreen wreaths tied with red ribbons will grace America’s national cemeteries. The Alabama National Cemetery in Montevallo is no exception, and the Blue Star Salute Foundation of Alabama, along with a committee from the cemetery, need sponsors to assist in honoring fallen soldiers this Christmas season during the Wreaths Across America initiative.

“It’s an honor because veterans are the heroes. A lot of times, the wreath may be for someone who fought in World War II or maybe someone in Iraq or Vietnam,” said Ed Burdett, a member of the support committee for the national cemetery. “If they were in combat or not, they’re veterans, and they should be honored.”

A remembrance ceremony, to be held on Dec. 10 at 11 a.m. at the Alabama National Cemetery, will be simultaneous with a similar service at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va. At that time, the wreaths will be laid on the graves in memory of veterans. During the Dec. 10 ceremony, Lt. Gen. David Fadok, the new president of the Maxwell Air Force Base, will be the keynote speaker.

Last year, about 700 wreaths were placed in the Montevallo cemetery, but this year, organizers hope for 1,100 to 1,200, as the number of graves has grown significantly. Individuals may purchase wreaths for $15 apiece, with $10 paying for the wreath and $5 to be saved for next year’s Wreaths Across America endeavor. The deadline for donation submissions is Nov. 20.

“People can make donations in honor or memory of a loved one, even if they’re not buried in the national cemetery. They can include a brief note, and we can record it in our brochure we’ll be using on the 10th of December,” said Glenn Nivens, Blue Star Salute of Alabama secretary.

To submit payment for a wreath, make checks out to BSSFI, and mail them to Wreaths Across America, Blue Star Salute, P.O. Box 203, Harpersville, AL 35078. For more information, contact R. Glenn Nivens at 672-2887 or visit Bluestarsalute.org.