Wreaths Across America keeps fallen veterans’ names alive

Local News

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — Fallen veterans are being remembered throughout the country and world this weekend.

On Saturday afternoon, almost 500 wreaths sponsored by Fort Wayne locals and companies were placed on veteran’s graves at Lindenwood Cemetery.

The Fort Wayne Civil Air Patrol hosted a ceremony at Lindenwood Cemetery before volunteers placed hundreds of wreaths on the graves of fallen veterans. The event was a part of National Wreaths Across America Day, a nation-wide day lead by Wreaths Across America (WAA).

“The wreaths that we’re placing today are from the Worcester Wreath Company in Maine,” said Anthony Vining, Deputy Commander for Cadets at the Fort Wayne Civil Air Patrol. “The program started out with Morrill Worcester having 5,000 wreaths left over one year and he donated them to Arlington National Cemetery. From there, it has grown in to the program that it is today.”

Businesses, families, and other community members sponsor each decoration. Volunteers walk around and place handmade live balsam wreaths on the graves of veterans until they run out. They take time to read the name of each veteran before they walk away to keep their memory alive.

“In Civil Air Patrol and in Wreaths Across America we say that you die twice,” said Staff Sergeant Darren Bermes. “One in the physical form and twice in the spiritual form when your name is said on earth for the very last time.”

Not every veteran at Lindenwood got a wreath because there just was not enough, but if Vining has his way one day none of the veterans at Lindenwood will have to die that second death.

“Here at Lindenwood, there are 7,000 veteran graves. My ultimate goal is that one of these years, before I retire, I’m gonig to place all 7,000 wreaths on veterans graves at Lindenwood. One of these days, one of these graves is going to be mine and I want to make sure that everybody gets remembered.

A ceremony was also held at the Roanoke American Legion and Columbia City on Saturday. 80 more wreaths were placed in Yoder on Sunday. The wreaths will remain in place through mid-February.

More than 1,500 events were planned across the country Saturday and at 24 locations overseas.

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