There's a lot of counting going on right now on my street, around the city and elsewhere.
There are the eight candles of Hanukkah which began yesterday evening; twelve days until Christmas as well as the twelve days of Christmas and one day shy of two weeks until the start of Kwanzaa, a celebration of family, community, and culture. And of course, the annual countdown for the arrival of the new year has already begun.
Your time is in high demand and in very short supply I know, but I have a suggestion of a better use for that half hour or so you were going to stand in line somewhere hoping to buy that certain someone this season’s hot toy or to try and assemble that shiny new bicycle.
This Saturday at noon is the annual Wreaths Across America (WAA) Day observance conducted by American Legion Post 104 at Taftville's Sacred Heart Cemetery to honor veterans during the holidays.
Recognizing the service and sacrifice of our veterans and their families is very poignant anytime but truly timely and appropriate during the traditional holiday season. Doing for others can help us refocus on what this time of year is about for so many, being with those for whom we care and who care for us.
Wreaths Across America has a three-fold mission: Remember, Honor and Teach.
Every year for the last quarter of a century this national outreach has coordinated wreath-laying ceremonies on veterans’ graves on the third Saturday in December at Arlington National Cemetery, 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 nations where US military members have been interred.
Attendance at the Taftville ceremony has always been good, and with you along this year, it will be even better. Seven specially designated wreaths for the Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, Merchant Marine, and Prisoners of War (POW) and Missing In Action (MIA) will be placed on memorials during the ceremony along with wreaths for each of the graves of the sixty-seven veterans now resting there.
If only for the few moments the ceremony takes, neither we nor those whose sacrifice we are remembering are alone, and that's as it should be, and not just for the holidays. No matter the temperature and weather conditions, your presence will warm the hearts of the organizers and definitely put a smile on your own face.
As an attendee at previous ceremonies I admire the words offered by the speakers but confess to not having enough of my own to capture the essence and adequately describe an event that's a heartfelt and homegrown acknowledgement of the lives of our departed veterans (of all services and from every conflict and era of our history).
It's a time for us as a community to gather, reflect and remember the fallen, honor those still in service and teach one another freedom is free only with sacrifice.
I’ll look for you Saturday at noon.