Due to weather, the Wreaths Across America Ceremony at Fort Lyon National Cemetery has been moved to 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 18.
More than 600 wreaths will be placed on the graves of fallen U.S. military veterans at Fort Lyon National Cemetery, Las Animas/Bent County Cemetery and Peaceful Valley Cemetery in celebration of the 19th annual Wreaths Across America campaign in Las Animas.
Similar celebrations will take place at hundreds of sites nationwide and overseas in continuing a 24-year tradition of honoring fallen American veterans. Begun in 1992 at Arlington National Cemetery by Maine businessman Morill Worcester, the Wreaths Across America organization has laid more than one million remembrance wreaths and is represented by more than 800 participating locations in all 50 states and nearly 30 locations overseas. Organized locally by the Las Animas Veterans of Foreign Wars Auxiliary #2411, the program has grown significantly from seven free wreaths placed in 2006 to over 300 in 2011, and over 600 in 2012 and 2013.
VFW Auxiliary member and event organizer Karen VanEgmond, was quoted in years past as saying, "My goal is to get a wreath on every soldier's grave at Fort Lyon and Las Animas before I die," a feat she has seen grow closer each year. "This project is only possible from generous support from the community," added VanEgmond.
"Originally we wanted to honor our country's veterans with a gesture we felt would be a small symbol of appreciation. We chose Arlington National Cemetery because it was in the nation's capital and when visitors came to their loved ones' gravesites at the holidays, they would see they were not forgotten," said Karen Worcester, executive director of Wreaths Across America. "We never dreamed our small gesture would become a national tradition. We are overwhelmed with the support and patriotic gesture by people from all over the country."
Wreaths for the ceremony will be provided by the Worcester Wreath Company from Harrington, Maine.