Written By: Barry Laminack
It’s hard to believe that wreaths across America has been going strong for 20 years now, but this past Saturday marked the 20th anniversary of the event. During our trip to the Houston National Cemetary on Veterans Day, one worker told us that last year at Wreaths Across American they drew about 45o people. I’m here to tell there was at LEAST 1,000 people there this past Saturday. It was truly a site to behold.
The goal for the event was to place all 31,432 of the donated wreaths on the headstones of 31,432 heroes. Houston National Cemetary was one of 600 cemeteries across the US participating in Wreaths Across America.
If you’ve never been to the event, it’s very touching. You feel a strong sense of pride in our country and at the same time you feel sorrow thinking about the tens of thousands of brave souls buried around you.
There was a board at the entrance to the memorial where we gathered that had the names and pictures of all of the Texas soldiers killed in action (KIA). There was also a guest book that you could sign.
The opening ceremony for the event was wonderful. After the presentation of the colors, we all said the pledge of allegiance and then sang the National Anthem. At the end of the National Anthem we were treated to a Coast Guard fly over.
They had a guest speaker from KHOU channel 11 talk about what the day meant. They then placed 7 symbolic wreaths to represent the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, the Marines, the Coast Guard, the Merchant Marines and those MIA/POW’s. After this very touching moment, we got to listen to Amazing grace be played by a bag pipe troupe, followed by a 21 gun salute and the playing of taps.
Here is some video of the both I captured.
Next, the co-founders of Wreaths Across America took to the podium to give us instructions. He asked that we not take more than two wreaths at a time (this would allow everyone to have an opportunity to participate). He said that you should place the wreath at the base of the headstone, straighten the bow, stand up and say the persons name out loud.
“Who knows how long it has been since somebody has said their name out loud. This is a time to show them they are not forgotten,” he said.
After we got our final instructions, we were released.
I immediately headed out to try and find two graves. One, the father of my wife’s best friend, and the other my uncle Ralph, who was buried at this cemetery just 3 short days before. I found both and was able to take a moment and really reflect on what that moment and this event meant to me.
I can’t tell you how awesome it was to be a part of this event. I would like to thank our Community Relations and Events Co-Ordinator her at TheCageDoor.net, Marcia Ogasawara, for putting together another wonderful event.
It was a great day!
TheCageDoor.net will be doing this every year so I look forward to seeing you all in 2012.
I took some pictures during the day, I hope you enjoy them.
Did you know: Wreaths Across America started right here in Houston back in 2007? The goal all along has been to place a wreath on all 59,000+ grave sites one day. Read more here.