Fort Wayne’s own Civil Air Patrol Squadron and Lindenwood cemetery joined the more than 1,500 participating locations across the country and 24 locations overseas on Saturday, December 14, 2019.
National nonprofit Wreaths Across America (WAA) announced that the Fort Wayne Composite Squadron and Lindenwood Cemetery have once again joined in the effort to support the mission to Remember, Honor, Teach, as an official location for 2019.
The local ceremony took place Saturday, December 14th at Lindenwood Cemetery at Noon. The Ceremony began at the Bohn Chapel at Lindenwood and continued to the Veteran’s memorial for a short service and the placing of hundreds of wreaths on the graves of fallen veterans. The Wreaths are sponsored by companies and individuals throughout Fort Wayne. Additional ceremonies were held at the Roanoke American Legion, 122 N Main St, Roanoke and in Yoder at the Saint Aloysius School Gymnasium, 14607 Bluffton Road, Yoder.
Since 1992, WAA founder Morrill Worcester has always asked volunteers placing remembrance wreaths to take time to read the name on the headstone aloud. Local Civil Air Patrol Squadron Deputy Commander Anthony Vining and Commander David Ehrman will speak at the event.
The theme of this year’s campaign is: “Thank you. Everyone plays a part.”
The inspiration for this year’s theme was a recommendation made by ten-year-old “Mighty” Miles Worcester, the grandson of the founders of Wreaths Across America. Last May, while in Washington D.C. for an event, Miles saw a U.S. Service member in uniform at the hotel where he was staying. As he always does, Miles walked up to the gentleman, reached out to shake his hand and thanked him for his service. And the veteran’s response was simple and impactful: “Thank you… everyone plays a part.” Miles went directly to his grandmother, WAA Executive Director Karen Worcester, to tell her that he believed this statement would be the perfect theme because, as he said, “those serving in the military are doing their part, but it is our part as Americans to remember and honor them, and that’s what Wreaths Across America does.”
Playing a part is something that Vining takes personally. “Many people are unaware that America’s first Flying Ace, Lt Paul Baer, is buried here in Lindenwood Cemetery. He was a trailblazer- he did his part. He’s a national historic figure, and we will again recognize his grave with a wreath.” Vining indicated. “Being a veteran myself, I find it to be an honor to carry on the legacy of these men and women who gave so much.”
The goal for the ceremony each year is to cover all veteran graves, and say the names of all the local heroes laid to rest there, to ensure that the individuals who served to protect the freedoms of our country are not, and never will be, forgotten. “Without the thousands of local volunteers across the country who give their time and energy to support the mission, Wreaths Across America would not exist,” said Worcester. “All our supporters understand the value of remembering the fallen, honoring those who currently serve, and the need to teach the next generation about the sacrifices made for our freedom.”
National Wreaths Across America Day is a free community event open to all people. Nearly 500 wreaths will be placed in Lindenwood, 200 in Roanoke and Columbia City, and 80 in Yoder this year.