Placing wreaths to remember

Published 9:21 pm Thursday, October 29, 2009

They lie in peace today, those veterans of America’s modern wars who have passed on from the toils of this world. Their peace is beyond this Earth, but the peace they gave us was hard-fought, won with the blood, sweat and tears of brothers thrown into dangerous situations and unfamiliar places.

The Albert G. Horton Memorial Veterans Cemetery is the final earthly home for thousands of those veterans, brave men and women who left their families to fight in Europe or Asia or Africa. In some cases, they knew and understood the call that had put their lives in jeopardy. In many cases, they didn’t understand why their nation called them to war, but they went, anyway.

We honor them at Veteran’s Day and on Memorial Day, and their families visit their graves on the many various other days that hold personal meaning for them throughout the year. The sight they confront when they drive into the Horton cemetery or any other that is dedicated to military men and women is a moving one. Row after row of perfectly aligned stones mark the graves beneath them. Ornamentation is discouraged, so the indistinguishable gravesites give the appearance of columns of small soldiers marching across the field.

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A couple of times each year, though, there is a change in the appearance — one that hints of life amidst this somber scene. One such event draws close, as the Wreath Society makes its annual plans to adorn each gravesite or columbarium niche with a wreath.

The group took on the project a few years back as a way to honor the sacrifice of those who served, whether they gave their lives in that service or were blessed to return home to family and friends, suffering instead the memories of their time at war. About 2,000 wreaths will be placed on Dec. 12.

It’s a worthy cause and one that could use a little help. To do so, send a contribution to SunTrust Bank, 123 Main St., Suffolk, VA 23434. Checks may be made out to “Wreath Society,” and envelopes should have “Wreath Society” on the front.