WREATHS ACROSS AMERICA

Jim Weed

Volume 44 Issue 01

Jan 6, 2019

I am a member of Civil Air Patrol, an official civilian auxiliary of the United States Air Force. For twenty years I have been involved with flying search missions, tramped through the woods to find downed aircraft, led training for cadets and have been squadron commander.

    I am a member of Civil Air Patrol, an official civilian auxiliary of the United States Air Force. For twenty years I have been involved with flying search missions, tramped through the woods to find downed aircraft, led training for cadets and have been squadron commander.

    Our squadron, Gwinnett County Composite Squadron, was number one in the nation while I was commander in 2008. That year we supported Wreaths Across America at Marietta National Cemetery.

    It began small, with 400 wreaths.

    This site was established in 1866 to provide a resting place for nearly 10,000 Union dead from Sherman’s Atlanta Campaign. Since that time there have been soldiers from every war fought by America interred here, from the Revolutionary War all the way to Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Our goal has been, and still is, to provide a wreath for each grave.

    Saturday, December 15th was to be the day of the ceremony which starts at 12 noon. I have participated every year. I have been there in the pouring rain, freezing temperatures, fog, and sunshine.

    My job has been to organize the loading and unloading of hundreds of boxes of wreaths so they may be pre-stacked by the gravesites. Immediately after the ceremony the public is invited to lay a wreath on a soldier’s headstone to remember that soldier who has helped to provide the freedoms we enjoy in America.

    We had days of rain before Saturday, and Saturday had a 50 percent chance. No matter, it will be done. Up early, the day started by meeting the 18-wheelers packed with wreaths at 7:30. I soon had daisy-chains of volunteers organized in unloading and delivering boxes to points throughout the cemetery.

    1,600 boxes were distributed, the cardboard picked up and all was ready in three hours’ time.

    Below the rostrum a couple thousand people had come to the ceremony and participate in laying a wreath. This year we nearly covered every grave. Our total wreaths were 14,700 just shy of the 18,849 we need.

    If you would like to contribute next year please google Marietta National Cemetery Wreaths Across America and at the bottom of the page you can sponsor a wreath for Gwinnett Composite Squadron Civil Air Patrol. If not for us, then find one in your local area and not only sponsor a wreath but come out next year to support our fallen heroes. I guarantee it will be a moving event and a way to support our veterans.

 

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