Wreaths Across America, Cedar Hill partner for upcoming Wreath Day

Published 9:17 pm Monday, November 27, 2023

Wreaths Across America and Cedar Hill Cemetery are collaborating to honor those who served. The nonprofit organization and Suffolk Cemetery will host its first Wreath Day ceremony at the cemetery’s location of 102 Mahan St. on Saturday, Dec. 16, at noon. 

WAA hopes to gather enough wreaths to place on over 700 graves of veterans who gave their lives for their country. WAA Location Coordinator for Cedar Hill Cemetery Karen Hedrick talked about what attendees can expect from the ceremony.

“Approximately at noon, we’re gonna have a short ceremony where we honor all branches of the military, then we’re going to have a couple people speaking about being a veteran and then we’re going to distribute wreaths across previously marked veteran graves,” Hedrick said. “Hopefully, we will have enough that we can cover all or almost all of the veterans that are in this cemetery.”

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Hedrick says they are looking for veterans from different branches that can place wreaths based on their respective branch of service, however, she emphasized that anyone who wishes to lay wreaths on veterans’ graves can volunteer by Dec. 15. WAA is also taking donations for wreaths with a deadline of Nov. 28.

“Nov. 28 is the deadline for the wreaths to count for this year to be placed, so that they can do the scheduling and get them to us in time, but of course, we raise funds throughout the year and you can just simply go to wreathsacrossamerica.org/VA0849P,” Hedrick said. “You can donate at that link on the Wreaths Across America site and that way it goes straight to our cemetery in Cedar Hill.”

Hedrick reflected on how the partnership came about.

“Well, [I] noticed that another local cemetery had a lot of veterans in that one and initially, we were participating with that cemetery, but then I noticed that there’s cemeteries around that are smaller, and that date back to the early 18th century,” she said. “I was looking at where these cemeteries were and I noticed that the one on Main Street had quite a few veterans that were buried there and I was thinking that it would be great if we could honor those veterans throughout all of the wars, from Revolution, Civil, Spanish-American, World War I and World War II, up to Vietnam and the current events, then [help] with laying wreaths on their graves since there’s over 700 in the Cedar Hill Cemetery.”

On coming together with Cedar Hill Cemetery for the process, Hedrick said that “it’s humbling and it’s awe inspiring.”

“ … These are people that have fought in our area or across overseas and they had a good connection here at home, Suffolk, Virginia, and that their families are still here and that they’re buried here,” Hedrick said. “It’s just amazing that you can trace and can walk in the same steps as they have.”

Hedrick expressed what she hopes to see on the Wreath Day celebration.

“I hope that the younger generation learns about the history in our area. I also hope that the adults will come out and they will say a veteran’s name to honor them, so that they are never forgotten,” she said. “I would just like for them to be able to remember those veterans who did serve our country, and that we never forget their names.”

For more information, go to wreathsacrossamerica.org/VA0849P or facebook.com/ConstantiaWAA.