I wrote this a couple of years ago and the sentiment, like the event it talks about, is an evergreen and a calendar fixture. So thanks for the indulgence.
We are only slightly more than waist deep in that most wonderful time of the year where far more than just the halls end up decked with holly (and tinsel and eight different kinds of lights (all LEDs and flashing) and ornaments) and most of us wouldn’t know a fa-la-la-la-la if it bit us on the figgy pudding.
Because of the hectic head noise that is part of our Yuletide preparations for celebration, we end up staring at the trees often without seeing the forest. I hesitated while typing ‘trees’ in case it serves as a trigger that you have yet to get yours, adding another chore to your to-do list.
Between all the hurried holiday greetings and in the midst of the manufactured merriment, you may wish for a moment you could use to catch your emotional breath rather than another big box store bargain, collect your thoughts and count your blessings instead of gathering your purchases and pocketing your change. Something, anything.
If you need a pause from the holiday if only for a few minutes, I have a suggestion courtesy of the City of Norwich’s website calendar for an event but really more of a moment, this Saturday at noon in Taftville’s Sacred Heart Cemetery. But it's not a unique-to-Norwich event, not by any means.
Perhaps you’ve heard of Wreaths Across America whose three-fold mission is to Remember, Honor, and Teach. Every year this national outreach coordinates wreath laying ceremonies on veterans’ graves on a Saturday in December (this one coming up) at Arlington in Virginia as well as veterans’ cemeteries and other locations in each of our 50 states, at sea, and in over two dozen cemeteries in other countries where US military members have been buried.
I’ve attended the Sacred Heart ceremony and while I admire the power of words, I’ll concede I don’t know enough or the right ones to adequately describe an event that is a heartfelt and homegrown acknowledgement of the lives of our departed veterans (of all services and from every conflict and era of our history). You should experience it for yourself.
It is both a gathering and a reflection of our community in remembering the fallen, honoring those still in service and teaching one another that freedom is free only with sacrifice. I’ll look for you Saturday at noon.