A Wreaths Across America event was held at the historic City Cemetery on Main Street as part of the National Wreaths Across American Celebration Dec. 19.
The sixth annual ceremony was also held at the Elba Cemetery and a first-ever wreaths ceremony was held in Daleville. The memorial events were co-sponsored by the Coffee County Veterans and the Sons and Daughters of the American Revolution.
At each of the ceremonies, eight ceremonial wreaths were placed to honor those in each branch of military service, prisoners of war, those still missing in action and for families of those killed in action before participants placed individual wreaths at the graves of veterans in the cemetery.
“These wreaths are being placed on memorials during this ceremony that was coordinated simultaneously at over 1,000 participating locations all around the world,” event organizer and Wiregrass Sons of the American Revolution President Travis Parker said. “This year it is projected that well over 1.5 million wreaths were placed by more than 2,000,000 volunteers, almost one third of which are children because the purpose of this event is to ‘remember, honor and teach.’”
Wreaths Across America began in 1992 when the owner of a wreath company had some extra wreaths, said Parker. “He remembered a visit he had taken to Arlington National Cemetery when he was 12, so he placed the extra wreaths there—and this small act grew into an international event.”
Enterprise Mayor William “Bill” Cooper read a resolution proclaiming Wreaths Across America Day in Enterprise, Johns Chapel AME Pastor Willie White opened the ceremony in prayer, Marge Simmons sang the National Anthem and Sons of the American Revolution Chaplain Perry Vickers outlined the purpose of the ceremonial wreaths.
Keynote speaker was Lt. Col. Juan Carlos Segura, the Deputy Chief of Staff for the United States Army Aviation Center of Excellence at Fort Rucker. The Wiregrass Sea Cadets, Pastor Greg Cotter of Bethany Baptist Church and Clanton’s Battery also participated in the sixth annual event.
More than 1,000 wreaths were laid on the graves of veterans in over two dozen cemeteries in Coffee and Dale Counties, Parker said. “The event started six years ago with 18 wreaths and has steadily grown each year.
Real and artificial wreaths are used each year, Parker explained. The artificial ones can be reused. “Unfortunately, over 150 wreaths were ‘lost’ this last year and that costs over $1,500 to replace and still be able to cover the same amount of graves as in previous years.”
Eight ceremonial wreathes were placed to honor those in each branch of military service, prisoners of war, those still missing in action and for families of those killed in action before participants placed individual wreaths at the graves of veterans in the cemetery.
“When the local project started in 2015, my goal was to have honor wreaths placed on all veterans’ graves at cemeteries throughout the local area,” Parker said. “This year we placed wreaths at almost two dozen cemeteries in Coffee and Dale Counties, including Daleville.”
Any person interested in being a wreath sponsor is asked to contact Parker at the www.facebook.com/EnterpriseWWAA page. Donations of any amount will be applied to the purchase of extra wreaths to place on more veteran’s graves.