Wreaths placed on graves to honor veterans at Harrisonburg cemetery

Published: Dec. 18, 2021 at 7:34 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 19, 2021 at 12:36 AM EST
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - Veterans and community members in Harrisonburg held a wreath laying ceremony at Woodbine Cemetery on Saturday, joining over 2,700 locations across the country to honor fallen service members for National Wreaths Across America day.

The service was held by the Massanutton chapter of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR) in Harrisonburg.

“Wreaths Across America is a national project to place wreaths on our veterans graves, and to remember, to teach and honor for generations. It’s greatly important today to honor these men,” said Eleanor Price, a 25-year member of the Massanutton chapter of the NSDAR and the trustee of the cemetery.

Wreaths Across America is a non-profit dedicated to honoring fallen soldiers across the country by placing wreaths on their graves each year so that they are never forgotten.

Saturday was the first time a Harrisonburg location participated in the national tradition.

Local veterans and community members placed eight wreaths by headstones of fallen soldiers at Woodbine Cemetery to honor members of all service branches.

“It’s an opportunity to try to serve and give back a little bit, so I enjoy that and I enjoy the comradery, talking with other veterans,” said William Conlin, a Vietnam veteran who served in the Air Force.

Organizers hope the tradition will ensure that none of the nearly 1,000 veterans estimated to be buried at Woodbine are ever forgotten.

“My ultimate goal is to take the cemetery and plot every veteran that’s in here. It has not been done since 2003,” said Price.

There are hundreds of marked veteran graves, but Price said there are likely many more in the cemetery that are not marked as veterans.

For the veterans in attendance who placed wreaths and participated in the ceremony, the day gave them a chance to reflect on their service and the bond they share with all those who fought and made the ultimate sacrifice.

“Participating in events like this helps keep that bond and that memory and that commitment alive in your life,” said Conlin.

Conlin said it’s important to remember those who lost their lives fighting for the freedoms we enjoy in our country.

“When you see other countries and you begin to compare what you see and what you know from our country, it gives you a different perspective on what we have and that we should be thankful for our way of life,” he said.

Price encourages everyone to take a few moments to visit the cemetery and the graves of veterans.

“If you see a marked grave of a veteran, read his name aloud and remember and learn from our history and what they gave as the ultimate sacrifice,” she said.

The wreaths will remain in place until January 15th.

You can sponsor a wreath for the grave of a veteran in the cemetery of your choosing here.

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