Wreaths Across America is coming to Sonoma Veterans Memorial Park again this year.
On Saturday Dec. 11, holiday wreaths for all of the graves at the local veterans’ cemetery will arrive under Patriot Guard Rider motorcycle escort. Military members from all of the armed services will be on hand to place commemorative wreaths, and the community will then be invited to help place wreaths on all of the graves. The ceremony begins at 8:45 a.m., and will take place rain or shine.
Wreaths Across America is sponsored by Worcester Wreath Company of Maine, which began donating 5,000 wreaths for placement at Arlington National Cemetery in 1992. This number has since increased to 11,000. After a photo of the green wreaths resting against granite gravestones in the snow was posted on the Internet, an unprecedented outpouring of interest spurred the company to go national. With assistance from the Civil Air Patrol, veterans’ organizations and other civic groups, nearly 500 veterans’ cemeteries in all 50 states will participate in the holiday remembrance of veterans this year. Ceremonies also take place at 24 American military cemeteries on foreign soil, at a US/Canada border crossing, and on U.S. Navy ships sailing on each of the seven seas. Each receives seven wreaths donated by the wreath company, which are placed in a ceremony at precisely noon Eastern time, in commemoration of the U.S. Army, Navy, Marine Corp, Air Force, Coast Guard, Merchant Marine, and POW/MIA. Worcester also makes available as many more wreaths as sponsorships can be obtained to cover the cost of manufacture and transport. Thanks to contributions from community members, businesses and service clubs, funds were raised to obtain wreaths for every grave at Sonoma Veterans Memorial Park last year. Donations are again being sought this year, so that the graves of Sonoma’s veterans can be decorated, along with an expected 200,000 others nationwide.
The local Wreaths Across America ceremony is coordinated by Civil Air Patrol Squadron 157 of Sonoma County Airport, VFW Post 1943 and American Legion Post 489 of Sonoma.
Cost of a sponsorship is $15.00 per wreath. To sponsor a wreath, please send your check payable to Wreaths Across America to: Civil Air Patrol Sq. 157, 2243 Airport Blvd., Santa Rosa CA 95403-8259.
For more information and videos of ceremonies at Arlington and locations across the country, visit wreathsacrossamerica.org. For more information on the ceremony at Sonoma Veterans Memorial Park, call David Reber at 996.2833.