Wreaths Across America remembers fallen veterans

Published 9:23 am Monday, January 4, 2016

The Wreaths Across America Statehouse Ceremony was held at the State Capital in Montgomery on Dec. 7 declaring by Gov. Robert Bentley's proclamation to celebrate Wreaths Across America. (Contributed)

The Wreaths Across America Statehouse Ceremony was held at the State Capital in Montgomery on Dec. 7 declaring by Gov. Robert Bentley’s proclamation to celebrate Wreaths Across America. (Contributed)

By PHOEBE DONALD ROBINSON / Community Columnist

Wreaths Across America Day was declared by proclamation by Gov. Robert Bentley at the Wreaths Across America Statehouse Ceremony held at State Capital Auditorium in Montgomery on Dec. 7.

“WHEREAS, Wreaths Across America, a non-profit organization, began in 2006 as an extension of the Arlington National Cemetery Wreath Project, which was started in 1992, when wreaths donated by the Worchester Wreath Company were placed on the headstone’s of our Nation’s fallen heroes during the holidays; and

WHEREAS, The Blue Star Salute Foundation, Inc. and the Civil Air Patrol of Bessemer, Alabama, are partnering with Wreaths Across America with a mission to REMEMBER the fallen, HONOR those who served and TEACH our children the value of freedom; and

WHEREAS, family members, friends and volunteers will help adorn the gravesites at the Alabama National Cemetery in Montevallo and other veterans’ greaves statewide in a stirring tribute to the courage and sacrifice of those who have guarded and preserved our nation’s freedom throughout history; and

WHEREAS, today, a Wreaths Across America Statehouse Ceremony is held at the Alabama State Capital to begin a week-long celebration of America’s veterans and their service to our country, with a particular focus on family during the holidays;

NOW, THEREFORE, I Robert Bentley, Governor of Alabama, do hereby proclaim December 12, 2015, as Wreaths Across America Day in the state of Alabama.”

BSSFI Past President Mel Shinholster emceed the ceremony; Capt. Duke Martin gave the invocation and benediction; CAP AL-087 presented the colors; Rob Robinson sang the National Anthem and patriotic music; Adm. W. Clyde Marsh, Alabama Department of Veteran’s Affairs commissioner, spoke; The Honorable Young Boozer, Treasurer, presented the governor’s proclamation, and Raymond Keel, Bugles Across America, played TAPS. The Capital Wreath was laid by Boozer and Sandi Robertson, Gold Star Wives of America, in front of the Alabama Fallen Heroes Memorial.

The Seventh Annual Wreaths Across America Ceremony was held on Saturday, Dec. 12, where family, friends and volunteers placed 3,900 donated, live Balsam wreaths, on veterans’ graves at Alabama National Cemetery, known as the Arlington of the South.

In 2015, over 410,000 wreaths will be placed nationwide by over 150,000 volunteers as part of Wreaths Across America whose mission to “Remember the Fallen; Honor Those Who Serve; and Teach our children the cost of freedom.”