Remember fallen veterans with Wreaths Across America

Published 10:44 am Friday, November 20, 2015

Over 4,000 wreaths are needed in 2015 to provide a wreath for every deceased veteran at Alabama National Cemetery, known as the "Arlington of the South." (Contributed)

Over 4,000 wreaths are needed in 2015 to provide a wreath for every deceased veteran at Alabama National Cemetery, known as the “Arlington of the South.” (Contributed)

By PHOEBE DONALD ROBINSON / Community Columnist

The Alabama National Cemetery (ALNC), located on Highway 119 next to American Village in Montevallo, is known as the “Arlington of the South,” with over 4,000 veterans laid to rest since their first burials in 2009.

The Blue Star Salute Foundation, Inc. (BSSFI) is sponsoring its Seventh Annual Wreaths Across America (WAA) project, a fundraising effort to provide a live Maine balsam wreath for each veteran’s grave at ALNC.

WAA nationwide goal is for every veteran’s grave across the world, in all 50 states, 24 national cemeteries on foreign soil, and ceremonies at sea to have a live wreath for every deceased veteran this Christmas.

BSSFI chaired by Lt. Col. Glenn Nivens, assisted by the Support Committee ALNC led by Col. Bob Barefield, and Bessemer Civil Air Patrol (CAP) led by Bobby Newsome, are working together to provide over 4,000 veterans’ graves with a live wreath.

Sponsorships are greatly needed for the $15 wreaths! Please make your tax deductible check payable to BSSFI, P.O. Box 203, Harpersville, Ala. 35078; earmark your check for Wreaths Across America. Deadline is Nov. 30!

The WAA ceremony, organized by Barefield, will be Saturday, Dec. 12 at 11 a.m. at the cemetery’s ceremonial flagpole.

Adrienne Bourland will be the emcee, and Brigadier General Robert (Bob) Stewart, U.S. Army Retired and former NASA astronaut, will be keynote speaker.

CAP will lead the presentation of colors and the National Anthem will be sung by Miss Shelby County 2015 Tiara Pennington.

The wreath laying ceremony will follow TAPS played by Buglers Across America Gene Ramsey and James Quakenbush.

Bagpiper Jeff Jones will play “Amazing Grace” and lead family members to lay their wreaths on their loved ones’ graves.

George Graham, 1st Pennsylvania Regimental Drummer, will lead volunteers to lay the remaining wreaths.

“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction,” said President Ronald Reagan. “We didn’t pass it on to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected and handled on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States when men were free.”

“Remember – Honor – Teach! Each wreath honors all servicemen and women for their selfless sacrifice and that of their families who are without loved ones during the holidays” (see, and