Members of the community attended a special ceremony at Wood National Cemetery on December 14 to honor and remember our nation’s veterans and fallen heroes during the holiday season.

The annual Wreaths Across America event was attended by Milwaukee-area veteran service organizations and members of the community, who coordinated the event to honor those affiliated with each of the services branches – including Merchant Marines, Prisoners of War, and Missing in Action.

The history of the ceremony dates to 1992 when the Worcester Wreath Company began donating holiday wreaths in tribute to Veterans laid to rest at the VA’s national cemeteries and state Veterans cemeteries. Since 2006, the Worcester Wreath Company has donated wreaths for gravesites at Arlington National Cemetery.

The wreath-laying ceremonies are now conducted at more than 1,600 locations in all 50 U.S. states, at sea, and abroad. At Wood National Cemetery, the ceremonial wreaths and Color Guard honors were presented by the Milwaukee Civil Air Patrol Squadron 5, a major partner in the program.

The Civil Air Patrol, an official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, is a nonprofit organization with more than 61,000 members nationwide. In addition to functioning in its Air Force auxiliary role for search and rescue missions, members play a leading role in aerospace education and serve as mentors to nearly 27,000 young people currently participating in CAP cadet programs.

Families and individuals in attendance at Wood National Cemetery also participated by placing several thousand wreaths by the headstones of service members. The adornments added a touching expression of the holiday sentiments for those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

Lee Matz
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