Join the Wreaths Across America ceremony on Dec. 19, 1 p.m. for the 3rd annual event taking place at the Destin Memorial Cemetery. The American Legion Auxiliary Unit 296 and community volunteers will place wreaths at every veteran’s grave in both the Destin Memorial and Marler cemeteries. Help from the community is needed by sponsoring wreaths, helping on Wreath Day or by attending the event where the motto “Honor, Remember and Teach” is witnessed in practice. “We remember the fallen, honor those who serve and teach about freedom,” says Corlene Zieglar, president American Legion Auxiliary Unit 296. “No matter the weather, they come—all ages, from all walks of life to honor the lives of the veterans who served. Parents bring their children so they can learn about service and sacrifice.” Last year, more than 200 wreaths were laid at the Destin and the Marler Memorial cemeteries, sponsored by members of the community.
Wreaths Across America was started 29 years ago this December, when a wreath-maker from Maine had 5,000 extra wreaths. Rather than letting them go to waste, he gave the wreaths as a gift of thanks for the service and sacrifice made by our nation’s military so he could live freely to work and raise his family. Morrill Worcester could never have foreseen then how this simple gesture would ignite a passion in the hearts and souls of millions of Americans many years later.
On its 25th Anniversary in December 2016, what started as 5,000 wreaths at Arlington, Va., grew to 1.2 MM wreaths at 1,228 locations nationwide. At Arlington National Cemetery specifically, 245,000 wreaths were placed by more than 44,000 – one for each marker in the cemetery. More than 400 truckloads of wreaths were transported across the country through a network of hundreds of volunteer drivers, donated trucking and diesel, and countless hours of dedicated volunteers committed to remember, honor and teach.
Each live, balsam remembrance wreath is a gift of respect and appreciation, donated by a private citizen or organization and placed on the graves by volunteers as a small gesture of gratitude for the freedoms Americans enjoy. For centuries, fresh evergreens have been used as a symbol of honor and have served as a living tribute renewed annually. Wreaths Across America believes the tradition represents a living memorial that honors veterans, active duty military and their families.
For $15, locally you can sponsor a wreath by sending a check payable to “Wreaths Across America” to the American Legion Auxiliary unit 296 at 311 Main Street, Destin, 32541, or by visiting wreathsacrossamerica.org/FL0665P. For more information, call 850-424-3746 or email ALAUX296@gmail.com.