Honoring Fallen Warriors For The Holidays
November 29, 2008
The morning air was crisp and cool, overcast with a few drizzles, as hundreds of citizen volunteers from the Central Texas area, gathered together at the Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery to complete a very special mission. They gathered this morning, to honor our fallen military warriors, as the Christmas season begins and Marty and I were proud to be part of this wonderful group of people gathered there this morning. People had came from as far away as Wichita, Kansas to take part in this event.
Today was the day, that the Friends of The Central Texas Veterans Cemetery set aside to decorate each grave with a wreath. The ceremony was to begin at 10am with local ROTC students presenting the colors, the singing of America The Beautiful, and a short invocation. Shortly before the event began, the silence was broken by the sound of hundreds of motorcycles, as members of the Patriot Guard Riders and local motorcycle clubs arrived to take part in the event. Seeing all the motorcycles arrive together was a sight to behold and one that many of us hold dear to our heart, because of the mission they have taken upon themselves.
After the prayer, the first to lay wreaths, were the Gold Star families, who were allowed a few moments alone with their fallen warrior, as they laid the wreath on his or her grave. Afterwards, the remainder of the crowd was to take a wreath each and place it upon one of the graves that remained undecorated.
I wasn’t sure what to expect as we headed towards the cemetery this morning. Unsure, if the cooler weather would cause people to stay at home where it was warm. I was pleasantly surprised and proud of the number of people who braved the cool weather to take part in this event. People from all walks of life were there, many with their small children. Civilians, Soldiers and Veterans all joined together to complete this very special task. While this event, was not part of the nationwide Wreaths Across America, it was inspired by that. When the Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery was completed in 2006, they received 6 wreaths from Wreaths Across America, one in honor of each branch of the military and MIA/POWs. At the time, there were not enough wreaths to ensure each grave had one, until one lady decided that each veteran in the cemetery deserved to be honored with a wreath on their grave, and within 3 days, she had gathered enough wreaths to decorate each of the 900 graves that were then at the cemetery. This year, there are more than 1400 graves and each one of them had a wreath placed on it and each veteran interred in the vaults also had a wreath placed in their honor.
I was very touched and inspired by the huge crowd that turned out this morning. This is something that Marty and I plan to take part in every year. I encourage each of our readers, who live near a Veterans Cemetery, to take part in such an event, or perhaps organize one yourself. I think you’ll be as inspired as we were this morning.