MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK)- An important and patriotic ceremony was held at the Newton Veterans Memorial Cemetery where the public remembers and honors veterans who have died by putting a wreath on their headstone.
“Everybody that came out was here for one purpose and that was to honor those who have fallen and to be with those and the families who are still fighting today,” says Sen. Elect District 31 Tyler McCaughn.
Since 2008, Congress proclaims a Saturday in December as National Wreaths Across America Day. This day is to remember and honor the brave men and women who served.
“This is a special day as members of the community, family of those veterans who are buried here can come together. We can pay honor to their service and their sacrifice during the Christmas season,” says Representative (R-MS 3rd District) Michael Guest.
Mississippi Congressman Michael Guest and his son placed wreaths next to a headstone of a World War 2 Veteran and a Vietnam veteran.
“Those individuals knowingly left their families. They traveled halfway around the world to fight for our freedoms. We must never forget that. Freedom is never free. There is always a price associated with freedom. We must remember those who have served and we must remember those who have sacrificed for us,” says Guest.
Wreaths Across America teaches younger generations about the value of their freedoms and the importance of honoring those who sacrificed so much to protect those freedoms.
“We had over to 1,500 people. It’s our largest crowd we ever had come to the Wreath Across America ceremony. As you saw our boys scout are here and the young kids get to see the sacrifice. The fact that 3% of Americans serve in the military. Right now less than 1% percent of Americans are wearing our nation’s uniform. It’s a very small minority to stand in the gap to protect our freedoms and our liberties and this is a small way we can say thank you,” says Mississippi Veteran Affairs-Executive Director, Stacey Pickering.
More than 1,000 wreaths were placed at the headstone of the fallen veterans. District leaders in Newton say this hits close to home.
“Every family is touched by the people in service. I had a grandfather that served in World War Two. When you go back to look at old pictures, you hear when they go to gatherings, you hear what they struggle, and what they went through. It’s just an honor to be a part of that, have that blood in you, to see what they went through in their lives,” says House Representative District 84, Troy Smith.
“From my perspective, there’s no greater honor to give than to our people who are serving then to be out here today honoring those who have served in the past and those who have given those sacrifice,” says McCaughn.
The theme was “Everyone Plays a Part.” Wreaths Across America is a national nonprofit organization founded in 2007.