The sacrifices made by veterans were recalled in a ceremony at Mount Tunnel Cemetery, with 800 wreaths laid on graves in honor of those who have served.
The wreath-laying was held for the seventh year on Saturday, Dec. 15. It was part of Wreaths Across America, a national organization that lays wreaths in honor of veterans.
The Elizabethtown event is organized by Marcie Bahn of York and the ceremony was led by Donald Feiler, chaplain with Elizabethtown’s American Legion Post 329 and a Vietnam veteran.
“The wreaths represent our commitment as a United States of America to remember our veterans,” Feiler said, adding that “standing together, we can defeat terrorism, hatred and injustice” thanks to the freedoms our veterans protect.
Bahn urged participants to show reverence.
“When you lay down the wreath, say the veteran’s name and give them a moment of silence,” Bahn said. She added that “it’s nice to remember veterans in the holiday season. A lot of them don’t have family anymore,” and thanked everyone involved in putting the ceremony together.
Elizabethtown Mayor Chuck Mummert also spoke briefly.
“Everyone has someone who served for our freedom, and we need to thank them today,” Mummert said. He also praised the day as a “national day of unity to teach children the value of freedom.”
Cub Scouts from Pack 85 assisted in the ceremony, laying wreaths for each branch of the military, as well as laying wreaths for graves.
While usually the total number of wreaths is around 300, this year the numbered jumped upwards. This was partially due to an American Legion donation of 200 wreaths for the event. Bahn said that any group can fundraise through the event, getting $5 back on every $15 wreath. Alternatively, for every two wreaths the group donates, it can donate a third wreath free.
The Wreaths Across America ceremony is held simultaneously at noon Eastern time in all parts of the country, and follows the exact same script. The ceremony includes a moment of silence for veterans, the Pledge of Allegiance, national anthem, recognition for each branch of the armed forces, and a playing of Taps.
Wreaths Across America began when the Worcester Wreath Company’s tradition of sending overstock wreaths to Arlington National Cemetery went viral in 2005. The group works to “remember the fallen, honor those who serve, and teach our children the value of freedom,” about the sacrifices veterans make to ensure our freedom.
More than 1,400 locations participate in the event in all 50 states and abroad.