Veterans remembered again on Wreath Retirement Day

18 Mar

On Saturday Dec. 17 last year, precisely at noon, hundreds of adults, children, local officials, first responders, veterans and active-duty service members were gathered at Webster Union Cemetery. The occasion was National Wreaths Across America Day, and the volunteers were there to help lay more than 650 wreaths, one for every veteran resting in the cemetery. It was an incredible outpouring of support from the Webster community, a truly touching ceremony and a moving tribute to our veterans. (Click here to read the blog I wrote about that day.)

For three months the wreaths rested there among the grave markers, reminding every visitor of the great number of Webster residents who have fought for our country. It was a stunning sight, so many wreaths, adorned with bright red bows, spread around the snowy grounds.

Unfortunately, however, the wreaths couldn’t stay there forever. So on Saturday March 18, a much smaller — but no less dedicated — group of community members gathered again at Webster Union for Wreath Retirement Day. They included Boy Scouts from Pack 420, Girl Scouts from Troop 60344. and the 209th Regiment Cadets. Together, they gathered the wreaths, stacked them along the roadways, then tossed them onto a big pile at the back of the cemetery. There, WVFD Fire Chief Andrew Vorndran set them all ablaze. Afterwards, all of the volunteers sat down for a lunch provided by Mission BBQ in Henrietta, a big supporter of Wreaths Across America.

It was a sad day in some respects, as we literally saw months of nonstop planning and effort go up in flames. But it was comforting to know that, just like on the day they were placed, each time a wreath was removed from a headstone, a veteran was remembered once again.

Check below for a slideshow of photos from the day, featuring many of our friends and neighbors who came out to help.

Planning has already begun for this year’s Wreaths Across America Day. The Webster community was so incredibly supportive of our town’s very first Wreaths Across America Day on Dec. 17 that organizers hope to add at least one additional cemetery this year, and eventually recognize every one of the more than 3,000 veterans buried in Webster’s seven cemeteries. Which is why, months before that happens, the call is already going out for community members and businesses to sponsor wreaths.

So stay tuned for more updates from Wreaths Across America in Webster, and let’s help make sure this incredible program continues to grow. Click here to see and follow the Facebook pageclick here to sponsor a wreath (or several), and click here to see the blog I wrote following Wreaths Across America Day on Dec. 17 to see what a moving and inspirational event this is.

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(posted 3/18/2022)

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