10/20/13 — Wreaths Across America to honor vets

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Wreaths Across America to honor vets

By Dennis Hill
Published in News on October 20, 2013 1:50 AM

On the second Saturday in December, ceremonies will be held at cemeteries around the world where United States service men and women are buried to honor their sacrifice in the name of freedom.

One of the ceremonies will be held at Evergreen Cemetery on U.S. 70 West, at noon.

Wreaths Across America is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to honor those service men and women at the holidays and it is looking for Wayne County residents to help.

Emily Tucker is the Goldsboro location coordinator for the organization and she says she hopes the initial effort by Wayne residents, both military and non-military, not only will be successful but will become an annual event.

Anyone can lay a wreath on the grave of a service member, Miss Tucker said, and that is an honorable way to recognize them. But being part of a simultaneous world-wide ceremony makes Wreaths Across America something that deserves special attention, she said.

"It's an international moment of recognition," she said. "I think that makes it pretty special."

The local branch of the organization has set a goal of raising $6,800 for wreaths.

That would cover the cost of laying a wreath on the grave of every veteran buried at Evergreen -- all 450 of them.

The cost of a wreath is $15. They can be ordered by mailing a check made payable to Wreaths Across America to Miss Tucker at 204 Creekside Drive, Goldsboro, NC 27534.

If more than 450 wreaths are purchased, she said, the rest will be distributed to other cemeteries around the county where veterans are buried.

Miss Tucker is helping organize the ceremony, which will include the Seymour Johnson Air Force Base Honor Guard, and hopefully, she said, members of Junior ROTC from every high school in the county, the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, and a representative from every branch of the military service, along with members of local veterans groups. Individual volunteers and civic clubs are also being sought to help lay the wreaths.

"We need all the help we can get," she said.

As the daughter of a retired Air Force senior master sergeant, Miss Tucker said she strongly believes the ceremony is something Wayne County needs, especially its young people.

"The idea is to give people an outlet to recognize veterans during the holidays in a quiet and selfless way," she said. "It will increase awareness of what our military does. I think it's important for the kids today, to help our youth to have a sense of patriotic pride and have an idea of the impact of the military on their lives, especially with Seymour Johnson be right here."

The stated mission of the national organization is "Remember, Honor, Teach."

The deadline for donations is Dec. 1. For more information, call Miss Tucker at 919-920-3250.