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'Wreaths Across America' honors veterans -- includes photo gallery
The Daily Independent - 12/18/2019
Dec. 18--The event was competing with the Elk's Christmas parade and the winds were high, but many people still turned out for the "Wreaths Across America" ceremony at High Desert Memorial ParkDec. 14.
The event was put on by the Panamint Springs Chapter of Daughters of the American Revolution.The purpose of the Wreaths Across American program is to recognize veterans in the local cemetery by laying wreaths on their graves.
Wreaths Across America's mission is to "Remember the fallen; honor those who serve and their families; teach future generations about the sacrifices made to preserve our freedoms." The theme for this year's event was "Everyone plays a part."
Wreaths were sponsored by individuals, organizations or businesses with a tax-deductible donation of $15. Also contributing to the event were Holland and Lyons Mortuary; VFW Auxiliary 4084; American Legion Riders, Post #684 Ridgecrest; NAWS Our Lady of the Desert Catholic Community and Command; NAWS Honor Guard and the Swap Sheet.
Kelly McDonald, site coordinator from the Panamint Springs chapter of DAR, kicked things off with opening remarks. The Naval Air Warfare Station China Lake Honor Guard posted the colors. After an invocation from Fr. James Dowd from China Lake'sAll Faith Chapel, Col. Ed Hackett USMC (ret) gave the keynote speech on repatriation.
Then it was time to lay the wreaths. Pat Gallagher orchestrated the effort, filling in for Senior Chief Petty Officer, USN (ret) John Abbott who could not attend the event. Representatives from the Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Merchant Marine and those representing POW/MIAs displayed ceremonial wreaths. Then volunteers ranged throughout the cemetery, decorating the graves of veterans.
Deborah Archibald took her six-year-old son Karl Archibald to look for veterans' graves. As she walked over, she noted that Karl has two veterans as parents. She said that she is a disabled veteran and Karl's dad is still active duty.
"Look we found one!" she said to her son. "Go ahead, let's read the name." She read the veteran's name aloud and added "thank you for your service," before helping her son place a wreath on the gravestone.
"Good job, sweetie," she said to her son, "Let's find another one."
For more information on Wreaths Across America, see https://wreathsacrossamerica.org/remember-honor-teach/#remember
(c)2019 The Daily Independent, Ridgecrest, Calif.
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