CHESHIRE – Every year, December 14 is dedicated as National Wreaths Across America Day and wreath-laying ceremonies are held throughout the nation as a way to remember and honor those who lost their lives protecting the country.
This year, Cheshire VFW Post 1052 is looking to make the occasion a bit more memorable, especially for those just learning about the sacrifices. VFW leaders would like to connect older veterans with the younger generation in town by inviting local Scouts to the ceremony.
“We really want the kids to come out and support our veterans,” said John White, Cheshire VFW Post 1052 Commander. “We would like members of any Scouts, girl or boy, to come down on Saturday for a few minutes to show their support.”
For this year’s Wreaths Across America, White and his fellow veterans will be performing a ceremony at the Veterans Memorial in the center of town.
“We want to increase youth awareness of the event around town,” White said. “I will give a short, 15-minute presentation at the memorial and then we’ll lay the wreaths”
Included in the invitation is a chance for any members of local Scout troops to help during the presentation and witness the ceremony in full. The event will begin at noon.
Wreaths Across America began in 1992, when the owner of a Maine-based wreath company found that he had an excess of wreaths toward the end of the holiday season. Instead of simply disposing of the wreaths, the owner made arrangements to have them laid at the graves of veterans buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
Other civic organizations agreed to participate as well, however the annual tradition remained relatively small and localized until pictures began to circulate in 2005 of the wreaths being laid at the graves. After that, the tradition began to spread until now, when thousands of individuals and groups across the country participate in the event.
Jeff Falk, a sergeant with the Cheshire Police Department and a veteran himself, has participated in Wreaths Across America at Arlington National Cemetery for the past seven years. He will be heading down once again this weekend, to honor a fallen veteran from Madison, whose family will be unable to attend the ceremony.
“For the past two years, my kids have been asked to lay a wreath for families who can’t make it down there for whatever reason,” he said.
Falk also mentioned that he and his family like to make a special visit when they arrive.
“When we go, we also try to visit Barney Barnum, Cheshire’s Medal of Honor recipient,” he said.