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Espanola Cemetery honors veterans with Wreaths Across America ceremony
News-Journal - 12/23/2020
While the annual Wreaths Across America ceremony in Arlington National Cemetery was nearly canceled this year, communities across the United States planned their ceremonies, including the addition of the Espanola Cemetery in Bunnell, on Saturday, Dec. 19.
Fundraising efforts, led by the American Legion Post 115, Daughters of the American Revolution and the community, ensured the 220 veterans laid to rest in the western portion of Flagler County would be recognized as part of the nationwide wreath-laying ceremonies this year, according to American Legion Post 115 event director Tanya Whitaker.
With family in the cemetery, Whitaker, was honored to spearhead the event, opening the ceremony with the wreaths for each of the seven branches of the armed services.
“I’ve participated at other ceremonies for the past four years and I was excited when I was asked to do this cemetery this year,” she said. “I think it’s very important for generations to come, to show how important it is to support your veterans and to continue doing things like this for the community.”
Joining the organization’s efforts for the inaugural event, members of Boy Scouts Troop 400 and Matanzas High School Army JROTC assisted American Legion Post 115 Color Guard.
Legion member Gary Owens laid the wreath representing the U.S. Air Force, and said there was no hesitation from the community when asked to participate.
“This past Memorial Day we laid flags out at all of the gravesites and now we’re doing the wreaths,” Owens said. “It’s been great – we’ve had the community support and it’s just been something.”
Wreaths Across America began in 1992 with Maine resident Morrill Worcester’s donation of wreaths to Arlington National Cemetery, and has grown into a national day of recognition.
Ronnie Dean, director of the American Legion Riders, Post 115 said veterans are always to be remembered.
“We do everything we possibly can for veterans,” said the retired Coast Guardsman. “We endanger our lives to save the country, and we’re doing the same thing for our veterans.”
This article originally appeared on The Daytona Beach News-Journal: Espanola Cemetery honors veterans with Wreaths Across America ceremony
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