Wreaths Across America - Remembering our nation’s heroes

Kristin Thorneloe • Nov 29, 2019 at 7:30 PM

KINGSPORT - To remember. To remember the sons and husbands, daughters and wives who served their country, some making the ultimate sacrifice. That is the goal of the Wreaths Across America program, not only in the Model City, but throughout the country. To remember each veteran from our community who has passed away.

Each veteran, in Location Coordinator and Vietnam War Veteran David Carter’s opinion, deserves to be remembered.

“I’ve heard one saying, ‘A man dies twice, once when he passes away, and once when people stop remembering him.’” Carter’s goal is for this to never happen to the veterans buried at Mountain Home National Cemetery, which includes four Medal of Honor recipients, three from the civil war and one from World War Two.

The mission of Wreaths Across America is to remember the fallen soldier, honor those who still serve, and teach our children the value of the freedoms we all enjoy. This is done in part by placing live wreaths on Veterans’ graves in December.

In 2006, Wreaths Across America placed 17,000 wreaths at 150 locations. In 2009, 164,000 wreaths went to 427 locations. Last year, two million volunteers placed almost 1.8 million wreaths at 1,640 locations. Over a third of those volunteers were children.

The goal this year in our region is a large one - to have a wreath for each veteran buried at Mountain Home. In order to have each veteran remembered, 16,000 wreaths must be bought. Presently, the Kingsport branch has only 5,204. The suggested donation price is $15 and they are accepting donations all the way up until December 2.

The Wreaths Across America ceremony itself brings veterans and family members from across the city on December 15 to remember those through the placing of the wreaths, which is done at the same time as the wreath laying across all of America, including at Arlington National Cemetery.

Another goal of the program Carter said is to educate the youth about the nation’s veterans who have made that sacrifice. Through the years they have invited different Junior ROTC units from local high schools to watch and take part in the ceremony, which has truly impacted their passion for their future in the army.

The ceremony starts at 12 p.m. on Dec. 15, with the wreath placing ceremony afterwards at 12:40 p.m.

Carter said the men and women who work at Wreaths of America appreciate every single donation, big or small, for it is for the remembrance of our nation’s heroes.