Ad Spot

Honoring fallen veterans: All veteran’s graves will have wreaths this year

Laura Brown, the local coordinator of the Wreaths Across America, is pleased with their fundraising efforts this year.

“This year, we are going to have a wreath on every veteran’s grave,” she said.

That was always the goal of Juanita Southers, who started the Lawrence County Wreaths Across America, along with Linda Dalton.

Southers passed away in July.

“That was all she ever wanted,” Brown said. “To see that all the veterans in Woodland Cemetery had a wreath on it.”

Southers got the idea six years ago after she visited her daughter in Washington, D.C. and they took part in a Wreaths Across America event at Arlington National Cemetery. Southers’ daughter suggested that they do it, because in the fall and the winter, there was nothing to mark the graves in Woodland Cemetery.

Brown got involved a couple of years ago after she volunteered to help raise money for the event and put wreaths on the grave. She got her sister, Sally Ingles, involved too.

Last year, Southers approached Brown about taking over the local Wreaths Across America because she was ill.

“She said she didn’t want it to end, she wanted it to continue on and she wanted me to take it over,” Brown said. “I said ‘OK, if you will help me.’ And she said ‘I will help you as long as I can.’”

Southers passed away in July.

Brown said before Southers passed, she asked that Brown get a wreath on every veteran’s grave on Veterans Hill so she could see it.

“And I told her I would,” Brown said. “So, hopefully, she will see it from heaven.”

Wreaths Across America will be Saturday at 11:30 a.m. at Veterans Hill in Woodland Cemetery.

The wreaths are made of live evergreens and the national Wreaths Across America has a goal of putting a wreath on every veteran’s grave in America. The group’s motto is “Remember, Honor, Teach.” The group first laid wreaths in Arlington Cemetery in Washington, D.C. in 1992 and the effort spread across the country.

The wreaths at Woodland Cemetery will remain on display throughout the holidays and will be taken down in January.