Wreaths Across America keeps growing every year with volunteers planning to lay wreaths on the graves of veterans at more than 1,600 cemeteries, including about 13 in Volusia County.
National Wreaths Across America Day is Dec. 14.
Hillside Cemetery in Ormond Beach will be participating for the first time thanks to the efforts of the Captain James Ormond chapter of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution.
The DAR chapter is in its third year as an organizing group for WAA, this year adopting Hillside.
“It’s an historic cemetery going back to the 1800s,” said chapter regent Dee Clark.
Volunteers will place 200 wreaths on headstones at Hillside, including those of two Civil War veterans and one World War I vet.
“We look at every grave in the cemetery (to identify the veterans),” Ms. Clark said.
The Wreaths Across America event at Hillside will begin at noon with a memorial service followed by the placing of the wreaths by volunteers.
Rolling Thunder Florida Chapter 8 and the Veterans Assistance Coalition hope to place 1,500 wreaths at Volusia Memorial Gardens in Ormond Beach, said Sherm Burres, the event coordinator.
The Rolling Thunder chapter and Veterans Assistance Coalition also sponsor an event at historic Pilgrims Rest Cemetery in Ormond Beach, where about two dozen Civil War veterans are buried, Mr. Burres said.
The Volusia Memorial Gardens service will begin at noon on Dec. 14 and include a color guard provided by American Legion Post 120 of Holly Hill, Mr. Burres said. The Embry-Riddle “AcaFellas” will sing the national anthem.
The service begins with an invocation. Seven ceremonial wreaths are presented for each of the five military branches (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard) in addition to a wreath representing the U.S. Merchant Marines, which provided support to the military during World II, and one for POWs and MIAs. The service ends with a benediction, a 21-gun salute and the playing of Taps.
“It’s quite a moving ceremony,” Mr. Burres said.
For each grave, a volunteer wipes the headstone, announces the veteran’s name and places the wreath.
Volunteers and wreath sponsors can choose a cemetery and register at WreathsAcrossAmerican.org. Mr. Burres said the local Rolling Thunder chapter will provide three wreaths for $30. For information, contact Mr. Buress at (386) 682-9825.
“We look forward to the veterans’ families coming out and civic groups like the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts putting wreaths on the graves,” Mr. Burres said. “It gives them a little civic pride to honor our veterans. Too many veterans are forgotten over the holidays.”
Wreaths Across America
Participating cemeteries in Volusia County. Ceremonies begin at noon Dec. 14 unless otherwise noted (wreath sponsorships as of Nov. 29). You can sponsor wreaths or volunteer at WreathsAcrossAmerica.org
•Daytona Memorial Park, Daytona Beach, (no groups assigned yet) 7 wreaths sponsored, 6,993 to go.
•DeLand Memorial Gardens, DeLand, (event supported by seven local fundraising groups), 523 wreaths sponsored, 777 to go.
•Deltona Memorial Gardens, Orange City (supported by nine local fundraising groups), 1,488 wreaths sponsored, 512 to go.
•Edgewater New Smyrna Ceremony, Edgewater, (supported by eight local fundraising groups), 252 wreaths sponsored, 948 to go.
•Hillside Cemetery, Ormond Beach (supported by one local fundraising group), 261 wreaths sponsored, goal exceeded.
•Historic Oaklynn Cemetery, Edgewater (supported by one local fundraising group), 16 wreaths sponsored, 10 to go.
•Lake Helen Cassadaga Cemetery, Lake Helen (no groups assigned yet), 37 wreaths sponsored, 54 to go.
•Oakdale Cemetery, DeLand (supported by six local fundraising groups), ceremony at 1:30 p.m., 136 wreaths sponsored, 415 to go.
•Oakridge Cemetery, Ormond Beach (supported by one local fundraising groups), ceremony at 10 a.m., 0 wreaths sponsored.
•Osteen Cemetery, Deltona (supported by one local fundraising group), 78 wreaths sponsored, 13 to go.
•Spruce Creek Cemetery, Port Orange (supported by one local fundraising group), 34 wreaths sponsored, goal exceeded.
•Suber Memorial Gardens Cemetery, DeLand (no groups assigned yet), 0 wreaths sponsored.
•Volusia Memorial Gardens, Ormond Beach, (supported by three local fundraising groups), 95 wreaths sponsored, 1,905 to go.