Montevallo holds Wreaths Across America

Published 3:26 pm Thursday, December 21, 2023

By BARTON PERKINS | Staff Writer

MONTEVALLO – On Saturday, Dec. 16, at 11 a.m., the 15th annual Wreaths Across America Ceremony at the Alabama National Cemetery in Montevallo was held to remember and honor our nation’s military heroes, not only for their sacrifices but those of their families.

“As part of our ceremony for the last three years, our program consisted of sharing a brief life story of someone from each branch of service who is buried at ALNC, followed by their family members laying our ceremonial wreaths for each of those branches of service,” said Pam Nichols, chairman of the Alabama National Cemetery in Montevallo. “Our feedback from ceremony attendees is that they are especially moved that we are striving to keep the legacy of their loved ones alive, and they love hearing the stories. 

Each year since the cemetery’s opening, the Support Committee for the Alabama National Cemetery (SCALNC) has planned and coordinated the ceremony and laying of live balsam wreaths on every grave. Pam Nichols, SCALNC Chairman, serves as ALNC location coordinator for the National WAA organization. Fundraising support to purchase the wreaths is provided by the SCALNC and several other organizations, which include the Blue Star Salute Foundation, the American Legion, and other military services organizations, churches, community organizations, businesses, and individuals.

“The support of those who wish to volunteer to help place wreaths has been tremendous,” Nichols said. “Following the ceremony, ALNC family members go first to lay their loved one’s wreaths, followed by volunteers laying the remainder. In recent years, estimated ceremony and volunteer attendance has exceeded two thousand.”

Nichols says that the holiday wreaths symbolize honor to those who have served and are serving in the armed forces of our great nation and to their families who endure sacrifices every day on our behalf. It is also a way to teach youth to understand that the freedoms they enjoy today have not been free but have come with a cost that they may have to pay themselves someday. As the wreaths are laid, all volunteers should remember that those resting in the hallowed ground of ALNC were real Americans with families, mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles. They were and are more than just a statistic.

An estimated 2,500 people attended this year’s Wreaths Across America in Montevallo.

Fundraising for wreaths is a year-round process. To donate to Wreaths Across America at the Alabama National Cemetery, go to Scalnc.org/donate-wreaths-to-alnc. For more information on the ceremony, visit Facebook.com/scalnc.