When we think of the Holidays traditions comes to mind. I personally love traditions and taking the time to remember family and friends that are no longer with us. I now have a favorite tradition and that is laying a wreath at a veteran grave. December 18th 2021 was National Wreaths Across America Day and Sacramento VERG has been supporting this cause for the past couple of years in partnership with our members.
For those of you who have attended a wreath laying event you have witnessed how special it is and for those of you that haven’t please consider supporting, you will be touched and it will feel good to be there. This year we supported 2 cemetery’s Green Valley in Rescue and St Mary’s in Sacramento. A group of over 70 volunteers laid over 500 wreaths, we say the name of the veteran or fallen solider, give a thoughtful moment of the sacrifices provided by the solider and their family and then lay the wreath against the headstone. The ceremony begins with a moment of remembrance and a symbolic laying of a wreath for each branch of the military. They conclude the ceremony by playing taps and the emotion is visible on all of our faces.
As I lay the wreaths and stop at the grave and observe the name the rank and the branch of military I am moved to see so many who passed so young and wonder how many gave the ultimate sacrifice of their life in action. When I see graves where the veteran lived a long life. I feel relief to know they came back home and hopefully died surrounded by loved ones.
It is also heartwarming to see veterans of all ages participating to honor their fellow veterans
One in particular stood out. She was wearing a marine sweatshirt, marine hat and marine mask and asked her if she was a Marine veteran for which she responded, “Yes Ma’am.” I asked if she would talk to another fellow marine who was in attendance as he is now bound to a wheelchair (service related) and having a difficult time. She talked to him for a good 30 minutes and they exchanged numbers and vowed to keep in touch. I gave her a challenge coin and she was overcome with emotion. When most people left, she walked the lines of the graves visibly crying. I checked on her before I left and she was so appreciative of us volunteering our time to lay the wreaths. So it matters
This year Wreaths Across America Day is December 17th and if you are interested in participating with us send us a message on our website and we will make sure to connect with you. Wreaths Across America coordinates wreath-laying ceremonies at more than 2,500 locations across the United States, at sea and abroad and you can even choose a specific veteran’s grave and sponsor a wreath for them.
We understand we have Veterans Day in the fall and Memorial Day in the spring, but our service members sacrifice their time and safety every single day of the year to preserve our freedoms.
In many homes, there is an empty seat for one who is serving or one who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. There is no better time to express our appreciation than during the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. We hope you will join us to show our veterans and their families that we will not forget. We will never forget.
Special thanks to the Boy and Girl Scouts of America, Blue Shield of California (BSC), Hewlett Packard Enterprises (HPE), Balance Staffing, and our US marines in attendance and to our generous sponsors including BSC, VSP Global, and DVBE Connect.
Liliana Bernal & Terry Ammirati
SacVERG Board Members