FORT INDIANTOWN GAP, Pa. –
Each December on National Wreaths Across America day, volunteers gather to remember the fallen, honor those who serve, and teach future generations about the cost of freedom.
To mark the occasion, a ceremony was held at the Fort Indiantown Gap National Cemetery in Pennsylvania on December 16, prior to the placement of wreaths upon veterans’ tombstones.
Ceremony events included an aircraft flyover, a wreath laying demonstration, placing of the Service Ceremonial Wreaths, rifle volley, and the playing of taps.
Army Col. Brad Eungard, Commander, Defense Distribution Susquehanna Pennsylvania, and 1st Sgt. Maximo Nunez, Jr., placed a Service Ceremonial Wreath on the stand in front of the Army Service Flag with the assistance of Lucas Fernandes, from Boy Scout Troop 456 of Sinking Spring Pennsylvania, all rendering a salute after placement.
“It’s always an honor to participate in this national day of remembrance,” said Eungard.
This was Fernandes’s first time participating in the event.
“I thought it would be really cool to come and place the wreaths down on the tombstones, but I didn’t expect to do this (help place the wreath on the Army Flag stand) it was a really cool honor,” said Fernandes.
Marine Corps Master Sgt. Bryan Alberts, DDSP Operations Chief, placed the Service Ceremonial Wreath on the stand in front of the Marine Corps Service Flag.
Riggers from the DLA Distribution Aerial Delivery Section participated in the ceremony as Color Guard to post and retire the colors.
During the wreath placement guidance and demonstration, volunteers who place a wreath on a veteran's tombstone were encouraged to say that veteran's name aloud and take a moment to thank them for their service to our country. It was explained that it is a small act that goes a long way toward keeping the memory of our veterans alive.
In all, volunteers placed 30,000 wreaths on the tombstones of veterans at the Indiantown Gap National Cemetery.
Each December, wreaths are placed on individual veterans' graves in over 1,200 locations throughout the U.S., with ceremonies at sea, and at each of the national cemeteries on foreign soil. Just as they’re needed to lay wreaths in December, volunteers are needed for the pick-up and disposal of wreaths Saturday, 20 January, weather permitting. The Indiantown Gap National Cemetery will post information and updates to their Facebook page event for those interested in participating.