Members of the community will have the opportunity to gather together to honor veterans during the holiday season at the Fort Leonard Wood Missouri Veterans Cemetery on Dec. 15 as a part of the national Wreaths Across America Day.
This is the second year for the cemetery to host this event.
Seven special ceremonial wreaths representing the Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, Merchant Marines, and Prisoners of War/ Missing In Action will be placed on memorials in a ceremony that will be coordinated simultaneously at more than 750 locations across the nation.
Wreaths will be placed on every grave at the Missouri Veterans Cemetery to remember all soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines who have served and to honor their sacrifices.
Currently, 250 wreathes have been donated to the cemetery, but sponsorships are still available all year long. Donations will be accepted from both individuals and businesses as well.
“Our community is so entwined with Fort Leonard Wood and the military and it is important for us to come together and honor those who have served,” said Virgie Mahen, vice president of the Assistance Association at the FLW Missouri Veterans Cemetery.
Wreaths Across America estimates that over 400,000 wreaths will be placed on veterans' graves nationwide by more than 150,000 volunteers.
Wilson said that this is an event to not only pays respect to veterans, but families as well.
“Wreaths Across America is a way of honoring the veterans, while serving the families,” she said. “It is something for the family. We are here for the veterans that we are here to serve the families.”
Pamela Hengen, president of the Assistance Association at the FLW Missouri Veterans Cemetery and Gold Star Mother whose son is buried at the cemetery, said that it was amazing to watch last year's ceremony to the cemetery completely transform.
“I was taken aback by the numerous people who showed up to participate in the Wreaths Across America ceremony,” she said. “Once the wreaths were placed it was as if another place — one that was glowing with life and dignity,” she said. “After witnessing the transformation, it occurred to me that this cemetery was not the final resting place of those who were no longer here; it was the final resting place of the remembered."
The ceremony will take place at 11 a.m. on Dec. 15 and will be open to the public. If you would like to sponsor a wreath or would like more information on the event, call (573) 774-3496.