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Service, sacrifice know no season

Contributed • May 30, 2020 at 9:30 PM

Memorial Day is a time to pause and remember the soldiers who have served and sacrificed their lives to protect our nation.

This year, while we try to get back to some sense of “normal” as stay-at-home orders are lifted, let’s not forget the service and sacrifice of those who have served — and those who continue to serve — knows no season.

“Yes, we have Memorial Day in the spring, and Veterans Day in the fall. But our servicemen and women sacrifice their time and safety every day of the year to guard and preserve our freedoms,” said David Carter, local location coordinator for Wreaths Across America.

That’s why the work of those dedicated to honoring veterans with a remembrance wreath at Christmastime is a year-round effort.

“We want people to see the tradition as a living memorial to veterans and their families. We believe that the sacrifices they made are more than worth the effort,” Carter said.

Locally, for Carter and countless other volunteers, that means honoring veterans buried at Mountain Home National Cemetery by sponsoring remembrance wreaths through Wreaths Across America.

Each December, at cemeteries across America and overseas, Wreaths Across America volunteers place wreaths on veterans’ graves. And, while December may seem a long way off, the goal of securing wreath sponsorships for each of the more than 16,000 veterans buried at Mountain Home is one volunteers work to achieve each and every day of the year.

To date, there have never been enough sponsorships to ensure every veteran buried at Mountain Home received a wreath at Christmastime. Volunteers hope this year will be different.

“Last year, we received 9,297 wreaths for Mountain Home. But there are approximately 16,000 veterans buried there, and each and every one of them has a story,” Carter said. “And, like those who are remembered on the Vietnam Memorial Wall, they are more than a name carved on a piece of stone. Many have had no family to remember them for many years, so this is a way for us to keep their memory alive.”

For $15 per wreath, sponsorships are available online now at wreathsacrossamerica.org/tn0243. The ceremony and wreath placement will take place Dec. 19, 2020, at Mountain Home National Cemetery.

To sponsor a wreath to remember a specific veteran, community members can contact a partner group through Bob Rambo at (423) 276-8368, Jeanette Scalf at (423) 430-6548, or Scott Foster at (423) 741-9934. Those with grave-specific requests should be sure to provide all applicable details, such as section and site number, whenever possible.

To learn more about the ceremony, contact Carter at (423) 349-4622 or location coordinator Allen Jackson at (423) 753-4165.

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