Wreaths Across America, Fort Snelling National Cemetery
I was fortunate to participate in a moving event -- the annual wreath-laying event coordinated by Wreaths Across America. Each December on National Wreaths Across America Day, the organization's "mission to Remember, Honor and Teach is carried out by coordinating wreath-laying ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery, as well as over 1,200 additional locations in all 50 U.S. states, at sea, and abroad." In my case, it was Fort Snelling National Cemetery in Minneapolis.
As usual, images do a much better job of articulating the details of the event, so the comments will be minimal.
The event began with a ceremony adjacent to the visitors' center. Wreaths were laid at monuments to each branch of service, and a few other honored groups -- in this image, the monument to America's Prisoners of War and individuals classified as Missing in Action.
Wreath being laid by an honoree at one of the monuments to a service branch (unfortunately, I can't recall which one).
It seemed like most people were there with family and friends; there were a lot of kids which was uplifting.
The Minnesota Patriot Guard has a regular presence at Fort Snelling National Cemetery. Of course, today was no exception. The Patriot Guard "is a 100% Volunteer, registered 501(c)3 non-profit Organization which ensures Honor, Dignity, and Respect at memorial services honoring Fallen Military Heroes, Honorably discharged Veterans, and line of duty Police, Firefighters, and First Responders.”
Once the ceremony concluded, everyone walked to the sections where the wreaths were waiting in semi trucks, and were to be placed.
The rest was straightforward -- people took wreaths by the armload or boxes and the designated sections quickly filled.
One additional note: The organizers encouraged each volunteer placing a wreath to say the veteran's name aloud and take a moment to thank them for their service, thus helping keep their memory alive.
If you are interested in volunteering at a future event, or learning more, please visit Wreaths Across America at their web site.