Raising funds to pay respects

Published 9:50 am Thursday, September 10, 2009

It’s a simple act that carries tremendous weight — the placing of wreaths at veterans’ grave sites.

The Wreath Society is a volunteer-based organization that decorates the burial sites at the Albert G. Horton Jr. Memorial Veterans Cemetery in time for the holiday season.

Now, just three months before the decorating is to begin, the organization is trying to find some financial support to decorate more than 2,000 graves at the cemetery.

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“We have no corporate sponsorships, no endorsements, no VIPs, just us,” said Jeanne Banks, Wreath Society chairperson. Banks added that the wreaths cost about $7.50 a piece.

“That’s a lot of money,” Banks said. “I know the economy is bad, but I believe there are enough people who appreciate what these veterans have done that we won’t have any problem raising enough money for wreaths for the whole cemetery.”

A group of volunteers got the idea for the wreaths from the Arlington National Cemetery, which has its graves decorated with green wreaths tied with a simple red bow.

Banks said with the amount of military presence in the area, it felt the right thing to do was to take this tradition to the Horton cemetery, which is located on Milners Road.

“I feel like, in this area especially where we have so many military people whose lives have been touched by the military, they need to be remembered for their sacrifices,” Banks said.

An account has already been opened to receive any donated funds. Contributions can be sent to SunTrust Bank, 123 Main St., Suffolk, VA 23434.

The wreaths will be placed at the cemetery on Dec. 12 beginning at 10 a.m. A special service will also be held at the cemetery, which is open to the public.