‘Be Their Witness’ theme of Wreaths Across America

Jeanine Martin places a wreath to remember those who are prisoners of war or missing in action during Grandview’s Wreath’s Across America ceremony.

Credit: Daily Sun News file photo
Jeanine Martin places a wreath to remember those who are prisoners of war or missing in action during Grandview’s Wreath’s Across America ceremony.

— Veteran’s Day has come and gone, but that doesn’t mean that veterans are not continuing to be remembered.

Members of the Grandview community are working hard to ensure that the legacy of our fallen veterans is not forgotten through participation in National Wreaths Across America Day.

The national non-profit 501-(c)3 organization’s mission is to remember the fallen, honor those who serve and their families, and teach the next generation about the value of freedom.

Every year, a theme is chosen to help supporters focus their outreach in their community. This year’s theme is: Be Their Witness.

“Through the Wreaths Across America program, we are ensuring that the lives of our men and women in uniform are remembered, not their deaths,” Karen Worcester, executive director, said.

“It is our responsibility as Americans, to be their witness and to share their stories of service and sacrifice with the next generation,” she said.

“In many ways, Wreaths Across America volunteers are already serving in this role to be the witnesses for the local heroes in their own communities,” stated Worcester. “Through their efforts, the veterans and veteran families are given the opportunity to tell their personal stories and share details about the character of our military.”

The Wreaths Across America Remembrance Ceremony will be at the Grandview Cemetery at 9 a.m. Dec. 15.

All are invited to the free event. Attendees will be given the opportunity to lay wreaths at the gravesites of each of the more than 500 veterans laid to rest in the cemetery and to be witnesses to the veterans’ lives as they say each of their names aloud.

Fundraising efforts for wreath sponsorships are going well, but there is still more time to contribute.

This year’s efforts are led by Sally Van Horn and Beverly Schliep.

Schliep has been involved with Grandview’s efforts since their beginning in 2010.

“We were inspired by a video of wreaths being laid at Arlington National Cemetery and we thought that we should do it here too,” she said to her friend, Ginger Emerson, who lost her son in Iraq in 2007.

“That first year, we were able to raise funds for about 200 wreaths,” Schliepe said.

Last year, enough funds were raised to sponsor wreaths for each of the nearly 500 veterans buried in the Grandview Cemetery.

Van Horn, a retired Navy Commander, has been involved with the effort for six years.

“I especially enjoy seeing the community come together for the Wreaths Across America Day ceremony and working with the children, teaching them about veterans and the sacrifices that they and their families have made.”

The children from McClure, Harriet Thompson and Arthur H. Smith elementary schools were enthusiastically involved in last year’s fundraising efforts, raising enough to sponsor nearly 125 wreaths.

Several local businesses have also played an important role in fundraising efforts and with logistics. Men and women from Walmart Distribution Center Transportation move the wreaths through town in a parade, complete with Police and Fire Department escort, prior to the Remembrance Wreath Laying Ceremony.

Help is needed to make this a reality. Each wreath is sponsored for $15. Of this amount, five dollars goes to the Fred E. Hayes American Legion Post 57, supporting local veteran’s needs in programs such as Operation Comfort Warriors, which meets the needs of wounded, injured or ill military personnel by providing them with comfort items not usually supplied by the VA.

Donation cans are located at the 10-4 Café and Eli and Kathy’s.

Donation cans located at the 10-4 Café and Eli & Kathy’s will be available until after Thanksgiving.

For more information, or to get a wreath sponsorship form, contact Sally Van Horn at 509-882-0416.


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