A tradition that dates back locally to at least 2016 was revived last Saturday when members of several local groups held a wreath-placing ceremony at the veterans memorial on the Highland County Courthouse grounds.
The Sons of the American Revolution Highlanders Chapter, the Daughters of the American Revolution Waw-wil-a-way Chapter and the Highland County Veterans Honor Guard were among those that participated in the ceremony.
The day before local representatives took place in a similar ceremony at the Georgetown Veterans Home.
Vietnam veteran Gerold “Buzzard” Wilkin of the SAR Highlanders Chapter, which encompasses Highland, Brown and Clermont counties, coordinates the local efforts.
“The motto is no soldier will ever be forgotten until the last person says their name, so the intent is to keep the legacy of the soldiers alive,” Wilkin previously told The Times-Gazette. “We do the wreaths down at Georgetown because Highlanders covers multiple counties, and there may be over 100 wreaths that we place down there. Probably 10 or 20 percent of the people memorialized on that walkway are Highland County individuals.
“The actual Wreaths Across America is a weeklong thing. The actual day that congress passed legislation on (fell) on the 17th this year. The other members of the Highlanders that meet me at Georgetown will then go back to their communities and do a ceremony there.”
Wreaths Across America is a national non-profit organization best known for remembering fallen veterans with wreaths placed each December at Arlington National Cemetery.
In Washington C.H., several members of the Henry Casey Camp 92 Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War (SUVCW), along with several wreath sponsors and volunteers from the community, braved the cool weather Saturday at noon to participate in the Wreaths Across America ceremony held at the Washington Cemetery honoring the military veterans buried there.
Among the community volunteers were veterans from the Highland County Veterans Services Office and veterans from the Amazon facility in Wilmington.
The local events were some of 3,702 such ceremonies held at various locations across America at noon on Saturday. A total of 2.7 million wreaths were placed on the graves of veterans nationwide.
Henry Casey Camp member Shawn A. Cox, a past Ohio Department SUVCW Commander and the camp coordinator for the event, served as master of ceremonies for the program. After a brief account of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War being a Congressionally-chartered organization that is the legal heir to the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR), a wreath was placed at the flag pole located in the new veteran’s area in the cemetery honoring veterans from all branches of the United States military.
Camp members and community volunteers placed more than 54 wreaths on the graves of military veterans buried in the Washington Cemetery. Most of the wreaths were placed on the graves of Korean War and Vietnam War veterans. At each gravesite, the person placing the wreath announced the name of the veteran, thanked him for his service and saluted. It is believed that a veteran is not forgotten as long as his name is remembered.
To sponsor a wreath and stay informed about event details, those interested are encouraged to visit www.WreathsAcrossAmerica.org/OHO137P