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Wreaths Across America Event to Take Place Locally Saturday December 19

Each December on National Wreaths Across America Day, the aim to Remember, Honor and Teach is carried out by coordinating wreath-laying ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery, as well as at more than 2,100 additional locations in all 50 U.S. states, at sea and abroad.

Locally, this is being coordinated by the Blue Star Mothers of America Northcentral PA12 Chapter, one of eight chapters in Pennsylvania. It will be held on Saturday, December 19 at 10 a.m.

Each year the committee strives to increase their mission to Remember, Honor, and Teach the community by laying wreaths on the graves of veterans buried at the local cemetery. It’s not just an exercise in decorating graves.

“This year’s campaign was given a tremendous opportunity for increasing the number of wreaths available to honor veterans’ at Wildwood Cemetery,” Dori Rankinen, an active member of the local Blue Star Mothers chapter, told Webb Weekly. The Wreaths Across America headquarters in Maine offered to double each wreath sold during a window of time So we reached 750 wreaths early in May. However, we have 1,050 to lay in December.”

She said there will be a brief 30-minute ceremony at noon following the wreath laying.

“I was drawn to this event by a commercial that I saw four years ago. It was a plea for sponsors for additional wreaths at Arlington Cemetery, and it led me to find a local event. The quote that tugged at my heartstrings was ‘A person dies twice — once when they take their last breath, and again the last time their name is spoken.’ I hope that it inspires you as well to join in support of this noble cause”, stated Rankinen.

According to Sierra Miller, there will a similar wreath laying at the Picture Rocks Cemetery.

“We are having a wreath laying on the headstones of all of the veterans’ graves in Picture Rocks Cemetery as part of the Wreaths Across America organization,” Miller said. “Under normal circumstances, there would be a ceremony to accompany the wreath laying, however due to an increase in COVID-19 cases in the area, the decision was made to cancel the ceremony and proceed with a small group of volunteers to assist with the wreath laying.”

What is the background of “Wreaths Across America”?

In 2007, the Worcester family, along with veterans, and others who had helped with their annual Christmas wreath ceremony in Arlington, formed Wreaths Across America™, to continue and expand this effort, and support other groups around the country who wanted to do the same. This nonprofit organization continues the Arlington tradition as part of its mission to “Remember — Honor — Teach”.

In March 1942, during World War II, the Blue Star Mothers of America, Inc. organization was formed in the United States to provide support for mothers who had sons or daughters in active service in the war. The name came from the custom of families of servicemen hanging a banner called a Service Flag in a window of their homes. The Service Flag had a star for each family member in the military. A Blue Star represented living servicemen and women, and a Gold Star represented those who had lost their lives. Today that tradition lives on.

The Blue Star Mothers support each other and their children while promoting patriotism. Their organization focuses on their mission every single day and will never, ever, forsake our troops, our veterans or the families of our Fallen Heroes.

If you are the mother, stepmother, grandmother, foster mother or female legal guardian of children serving in the military, guard or reserves, or have children who are veterans and would like to know more about Blue Star Mothers, please go to The North Central PA 12’s Facebook page is Blue Star Mothers of America Chapter 12.

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