Wreaths across America still accepting donations
Veterans, volunteers and loved ones of the many veterans buried in graves across Northeast Louisiana will come together at 11 a.m. Dec. 14 for the fourth annual Wreaths Across America Ceremony to be held in the Northeast Louisiana Veterans’ Cemetery located two miles south of Rayville on Highway 425.
This group will have gathered at 8:30 a.m. to lay wreaths on all the grave sites at the Veterans’ Cemetery previous to the ceremony. Private and individual ceremonies across the area will be held at church and family cemeteries following this ceremony, where individuals have loved ones interred.
“Wreaths Across America is a wonderful way to honor loved ones who have served in the military. The Executive Committee of the Original Richland library Restoration Society located in the Rhymes Memorial Library Building is proud to be the local Rayville area headquarters for Wreath Across America,” president Louise Cater at a recent meeting in Oak Grove.
Helping the committee with day to day planning is WAA Coordinator Dellie Hicks, who encourages participation and shares information about this program.
“Even though this is only our fourth year of participation, the Non-Profit-Wreaths Across America has been in existence for 27 years,” Hicks said.
In December of 1992 upper-state Maine wreath maker Morrill Worcester found himself with a surplus of 5,000 wreaths during the holiday season. Worcester saw the surplus as an opportunity to pay tribute to our country’s veterans. With the help of a Maine senator, he arranged for the wreaths to be placed at Arlington National Cemetery. This annual tribute to our country’s veterans has continued ever since, touching the lives of millions of veterans’ families and volunteers and has grown in scope through the years.
Wreaths Across America’s mission is simple: Remember the fallen, Honor those that serve, and Teach the next generation about the value of freedom.
In 2018, this organization and its national network of volunteers placed nearly two million wreaths honoring America’s heroes at over 1,600 locations in all 50 states, at sea and abroad. Over 800 of those were placed on grave sites throughout Northeast Louisiana, a small number by comparison, but our local program is growing also, reaching out to communities, businesses and churches all over the area serviced by the Veterans’ Cemetery.
This year’s theme is Everyone Plays a Part. In preparation for the 2019 ceremony, business, church and individual sponsors are needed and are asked to consider covering the veterans’ grave sites in a cemetery near them. Approximately 500 will be needed at the Veterans’ Cemetery. There are over 3,300 known grave sites of veterans in Richland Parish alone, with thousands more throughout Northeast Louisiana.
Because active, retired, and dead military played such an important part in America’s freedom and privileges, everyone is reminded that they too should playa part in remembering, honoring and teaching the reason for that freedom and those privileges. The perfect way is to participate in Wreaths Across America through sponsorship and volunteering to place wreaths.
On behalf of military families and the Wreaths Across America extended family who are looking forward to honoring all the veterans laid to rest throughout Northeast Louisiana, the Executive Committee of ORlRS and the WAA Coordinator would like to thank everyone for their consideration of this very patriotic cause and are reminded of the ceremony to be held at 11 a.m. Dec. 14 at the shelter on the grounds of the Northeast Louisiana Veterans’ Home.
For more information, interested parties can call Rhymes Memorial library at 318-728-4127, between 9 a.m. and noon, Monday through Friday.