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Christmas wreaths for the fallen

This holiday season, heroes will once again be honored thanks to generous, year-round donations and hundreds of dedicated volunteers.

The Horton Wreath Society will hold its annual wreath-laying ceremony at Albert G. Horton Jr. Memorial Veterans Cemetery on Dec. 16. Approximately 8,300 wreaths will be placed at gravesites and columbarium rows this year by families, Scouts, military servicemen and servicewomen and more, according to Horton Wreath Society Public Affairs Officer Donn Zwirn.

“We do planning throughout the whole year just to make sure everything goes smoothly on the day of the event, and that’s because of all the great volunteers,” Zwirn said. “If it wasn’t for the volunteers, we couldn’t do what we do.”

The Horton Wreath Society has been conducting the event every year since 2008. The society works all year long to raise money to purchase enough fresh evergreen wreaths for the Christmas season, each adorned with a red bow.

The annual wreath-laying at Albert G. Horton Jr. Memorial Veterans Cemetery will take place Dec. 16.

The number of wreaths grows every year, with more than 7,200 placed last year, Zwirn said. The society is able to afford more wreaths every year thanks to donors.

“Every year, we need to raise more funding to buy wreaths,” he said. “If there’s any money left over, it rolls over to next year.”

According to Zwirn, the formal ceremony will begin at 9 a.m., and military families will place their own, personal wreaths for loved ones at 9:30 a.m. General wreath laying will begin at 10 a.m.

Last year, all the wreaths were placed in less than two hours.

“Lots of people return from last year and the year before,” Zwirn said, adding that it’s amazing to see them lay each wreath with respect and dignity. “It’s a sight to see.”

To volunteer or make a donation, visit hortonwreathsociety.webs.com.