Wreaths Across America alter laying ceremony

Vincent Marshall
Due to COVID-19, the 2020 Wreaths Across America laying of the wreaths ceremony will not be held. However, families will still be able to lay wreaths for their loved ones on Saturday, Dec. 19 from 9 and 11 a.m. SUBMITTED PHOTO

Another change has been made to annual holiday event in the Dodge City area as the annual laying of the wreaths ceremony at Kansas Veterans’ Cemetery at Fort Dodge has changed its event due to COVID-19.

According to cemetery manager Lori L. Snyder, as part of Wreaths Across America, the laying of the wreaths will take place on Saturday, Dec. 19 however the program will not have a ceremony at the four state veteran cemeteries such as Fort Dodge, WaKeeney, Winfield and Fort Riley/Manhattan.

Instead, family members will still be given the opportunity to place a wreath on the grave of their loved one.

"This will be the 16th year that the Kansas Veterans’ Cemetery Program has participated in Wreaths Across America," Snyder said. "Wreaths will be placed by each garden for your convenience.

"Please feel free to take pictures and honor your loved ones.

"For the protection of our families, volunteers, and staff, we ask that you spend no more than 20 minutes within the cemetery."

Wreaths can be placed between 9 and 11 a.m., on Dec. 19.

"Staff and Volunteers will place wreaths on graves that have not had wreaths placed prior to 11:00 a.m.," said Snyder. "We request that all participants wear face coverings while on cemetery grounds and maintain six-feet social distancing.

"The offices will remain closed that day. If you need assistance, staff will be available.

"Seven ceremonial wreaths will be placed to remember those who gave their lives in service for our country that were specially made wreaths for Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, Merchant Marines and POW/MIA will be placed as memorials."

The wreaths were donated by Worcester Wreath Company in Harrington, Maine who will be donating 2,158 wreaths to state, national and local cemeteries across the U.S.

The Worcester Wreath Company marks its 28th anniversary in donating wreaths in 2020 which adorn headstones of military veterans.

In 2019, over 2.2 million wreaths were placed on veteran grave sites.

"We would like to thank the families, businesses and organizations who so generously donate to Wreaths Across America each year," Snyder said. "Because of your generosity, we have been able to place wreaths on every grave with our cemeteries every year.

"Although we have enough donations to place a wreath on each grave within our cemetery this year, we collect donations all year long, so new donations will be credited for 2021."

To donate for the wreaths placed on graves at the Veterans’ Cemetery at Fort Dodge, make checks payable to Wreaths Across America and send to: Kansas Veterans’ Cemetery at Fort Dodge, 714 Sheridan-Unit 66, Fort Dodge, KS 67843. Wreaths are $15 each.

Visit www.wreathsacrossamerica.com, for more information.

To contact the writer email vmarshall@dodgeglobe.com