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Wreaths Across America: Ceremonies honor those who serve

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The Haley Family reads aloud the name of a World War II veteran before they place a remembrance wreath on his grave during last year's Wreaths Across America observance at New Hollywood Cemetery. This year's event is set for Saturday at noon.

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BY ANNA GOODWIN MCCARTHY
Correspondent

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Honoring those who have served in the military, two Wreaths Across America events are scheduled in Elizabeth City on Dec. 15 at noon.

The two events will be held at New Hollywood Cemetery and at West Lawn Cemetery.

Wreaths Across America first began at Arlington National Cemetery and has since expanded nationwide. According to the Wreaths Across America website, the owner of Worcester Wreath Company in Maine, Morrill Worcester had a surplus of wreaths in 1992, and he decided to place the wreaths at Arlington National Cemetery to honor veterans.

Over the years, Wreaths Across America has developed into non-profit organization that was created to honor veterans across the nation on Wreaths Across America Day in December. Wreaths Across America’s goal is to “Remember our fallen U.S. veterans. Honor those who serve. Teach your children the value of freedom.”

Wreaths Across America at New Hollywood Cemetery

Twiford’s Funeral Home is sponsoring the event at New Hollywood Cemetery for the fourth year.

“We wanted to honor veterans, and this was one way to do it,” said David H. Twiford, the CEO of Twiford Funeral Homes LLC, Cemeteries and Crematorium.

Twiford said they plan to honor veterans with at least 700 wreaths.

The event will begin with a parade at the funeral home on Church Street ending at the New Hollywood Cemetery. Twiford said the parade will include a number of civic organizations and representatives from Elizabeth City and surrounding counties.

The welcoming/invocation will be given by Pastor Preston Pitchford. Pasquotank Sheriff Tommy Wooten will provide opening remarks and a history of Wreaths Across America. The keynote speaker is U.S. Coast Guard Commander Randy Meador.

Twiford said all the funds collected for the wreaths through Twiford’s went towards the purchase of wreaths to honor veterans for the event. Each year the event continues to grow, according to Twiford.

Twiford said the event provides an opportunity “to teach the younger generation to never forget the veterans.”

“We try to teach the young people not to just honor, but to know what they did,” said Twiford.

When volunteers place the wreaths on the veterans’ graves, they are asked to say the name out loud in remembrance of the veterans’ service.

“Everyone in attendance will help,” said Twiford.

Twiford asks those young people who participate to reflect on the veterans’ service and research the history.

“Myself and my family are committed to our veterans,” said Twiford. “My father was a U.S. Army World War II veteran.”

Helping to preserve the legacy of veterans, Twiford created a Wall of Freedom at Twiford Funeral Homes which has expanded since he first established it in 2014. Twiford also established the Sam A. Twiford’s Veteran’s Memorial Park at Twiford Funeral Homes at the Church Street location.

The general public is invited to attend and participate in the Wreaths Across America event.

Wreaths Across America at West Lawn Cemetery

The Disabled American Veterans Auxiliary Unit #64 is organizing a Wreaths Across America event at West Lawn Cemetery, which is the first time for the organization whose unit was chartered this past summer.

“Our mission is to help make a difference for veterans and their families,” said Ginny Bick, commander of the Disabled American Veterans Auxiliary Unit 64. “We help veterans in need.”

Bick said volunteers from local organizations and Boy Scout troops will place the wreaths on the veterans’ graves at West Lawn Cemetery.

“They are live balsam wreaths with a red velvet bow,” said Bick.

Bick said the Wreaths Across America event will be used as a fundraiser for the Disabled American Veterans Auxiliary Unit #64. Five dollars from every wreath sold for $15 through the Disabled American Veterans Auxiliary Unit #64 will be utilized by the organization to help serve the local veterans.

Bick said the organization serves veterans in seven counties: Currituck, Camden, Pasquotank, Perquimans, Dare, Gates and Chowan.

Bick said they planned a Christmas Outreach to visit nursing homes and take items to local veterans.

“We are here, we care, we remember their service and we honor them,” said Bick.

“I thought it was a very good way to honor our local veterans,” said Bick, describing the group’s decision to hold a Wreaths Across America event at West Lawn Cemetery.

“We invite anyone and everyone to attend,” said Bick.

(Wreaths Across America website: https://wreathsacrossamerica.org/our-story)

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