Wreaths Across America honoring fallen veterans for the holidays

Military Matters

COLORADO SPRINGS — All across the country, and right here in Colorado Springs, wreaths were laid on the graves of veterans.

Graves at Pikes Peak National Cemetery

“It marks a special time since it’s the holiday season,” said Robert McLaughlin, Mt. Carmel Service Center Executive Director. It was started in Maine years ago and then spread across the country.”

Hundreds of volunteers braved the cold morning to participate in the ceremony and honor those who have served.

Volunteers with military in their family and other members of the public showed up to place the wreaths. Credit: Rachel Saurer

“This is an opportunity to remember, to reflect and basically to teach our youth about the importance of honoring those who have served and sacrificed,” McLaughlin explained. “It’s more important now in our country that young Americans understand that freedom is not free. That Americans have volunteered since George Washington.”

Volunteers gifted wreaths to veterans to pay tribute to their sacrifice.

“Some people say you die twice,” McLaughlin said. “Once when you pass and another time when people don’t remember you. So to be able to remember the veterans that served and sacrificed is tremendously important and the symbiology of putting a holiday wreath on the headstone of a veteran is symbolic of respect, of dignity, of honor.”

Cindy Long, President of the Southeast Colorado Honor Flight, has a long line of family members with military background. That is why she has gone to the wreath ceremony ever since she moved to Colorado Springs.

A couple buried together… the serviceman and his wife both received a wreath. Credit: Rachel Saurer

“It’s just very important to recognize those people and their service,” Long said. “Especially at this time of year when we’re all thinking about our families and to be part of this family of veterans and supporting them and coming out and showing them that.”

Two members of the Sons and Daughters of the American Revolution came to remember every veteran, as well as educate the kids who came out.

McLaughlin said it was important for the kids present to understand from this event that freedom isn’t free. Credit: Rachel Saurer

“One of the tenets of our organization is to always remember the veterans,” Scott Tanner said. “We call the American Revolution America’s first veterans and so remembering and honoring and learning and teaching and seeing all the kids out here is just awesome.”

“It’s more important now in our country that young Americans understand that freedom is not free. That Americans have volunteered since George Washington,” Laughlin added.

For more information about Wreaths Across America, click here.

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