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Wreath ceremony set for Dec. 14

Military personnel receive a briefing before the Wreaths Across American ceremony last year at the Sonoma Veterans Memorial Park.

Military personnel receive a briefing before the Wreaths Across American ceremony last year at the Sonoma Veterans Memorial Park.

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On Saturday Dec. 14, members of the community are invited to gather together to honor veterans during the holiday season as part of the annual Wreaths Across America Day. The event begins at 8:45 a.m. at the Sonoma Veterans Memorial Park, and will be held rain or shine.

The Wreaths Across America ceremony at the Sonoma Veterans Memorial Park is coordinated by Civil Air Patrol Squadron 157 from Sonoma County Airport, VFW Post 1943 and American Legion Post 489 of Sonoma. Wreaths for Sonoma Veterans Memorial Park can be sponsored for $15 each; extra wreaths will be placed on the graves of veterans (including the only Revolutionary War veteran buried west of the Mississippi) at Mountain Cemetery. Make checks payable to “Wreaths Across America” and mail by Thanksgiving to Civil Air Patrol, 5 Air Museum Way, Santa Rosa CA 95403.

Begun in 1992 at Arlington National Cemetery with the donation of 5,000 wreaths by Worcester Wreath Company of Harrington, Maine, Wreaths Across America went nationwide in 2005 after a photograph of the green wreaths resting on gray headstones in a field of snow at Arlington was published on the web, causing an avalanche of inquiries and offers of help.

Wreaths Across America will take place at more than 900 veterans’ cemeteries in all 50 states, plus 24 American military cemeteries on foreign soil.

This year, Worcester will donate 15,000 wreaths for Arlington, plus 7 ceremonial wreaths for each participating location (honoring the 5 branches of the U.S. armed services, the Merchant Marine and POW/MIA). This year, it is projected 600,000 such wreaths will be placed, with the eventual goal of obtaining wreaths for all 2 million graves in veterans cemeteries across the United States.

Wreaths Across America is a nonprofit organization, and sponsorships should be tax deductible as a charitable donation.