Remembering the fallen, one wreath at a time

What began as a dream for Department of Wisconsin American Legion Riders Ray and Evelyn McSherry will become a reality Dec. 15. The pair had a goal of covering every grave at the Wisconsin Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Waupaca as part of the national Wreaths Across America program.

Seven years after starting the program, the goal will be reached. On Dec. 15, all 7,300 graves will be marked with a wreath, thanks to the efforts of the Wisconsin American Legion Riders and other Wisconsin American Legion Family members.

Evelyn, Wisconsin American Legion Riders District 8’s secretary, said this year’s program at the cemetery will feature Department of Wisconsin Commander Frank Kostka, Wisconsin American Legion Auxiliary President Char Kiesling and a Gold Star mother.

Also in Wisconsin, American Legion Post 186 in Independence is participating in Wreaths Across America for the second year. The post raised funds to place wreaths in four area cemeteries.

Both Wisconsin efforts are part of Wreaths Across America’s nationwide program, which is in its 27th year. For more information or to find a Wreaths Across America event in your area, click here.

The following are a few examples of American Legion posts who will take part in Wreaths Across America on Dec. 15.

Florida

Paradise Post 79 in New Port Richey will be placing approximately 80 wreaths at Pine Hill Cemetery, including on that of Medal of Honor recipient James W. Huff.

Iowa

Doornink-Brunsting Post 199 in Sioux Center will place approximately 450 wreaths at Memory Gardens Cemetery in Sioux Center.

Michigan

In Mackinac Island, American Legion Post 299 will place 225 wreaths over two cemeteries in its first year participating in Wreaths Across America. Post 299 Commander Sidney DeHaan said the wreaths arrive by truck, then boat, then horse and dray.

New York

Joseph Kovarik American Legion Post 1146 in Bohemia is participating at an event at Long Island National Cemetery in Farmingdale.

Ohio

Stevens-Christian Memorial Post 557 in Wintersville sponsors the Wreaths Across America event at Two Ridge Cemetery in Wintersville. The cemetery contains veterans from as far back as the Revolutionary War. Also buried at the cemetery is one of Post 557’s namesakes, Virgil Stevens, who was killed in World War I. The post lays 25 wreaths at the cemetery.

Pennsylvania

Post 109 in Mechanicsburg has raised money for Wreaths Across America and will have representatives at Indiantown Gap National Cemetery to place wreaths.

Texas

Robert F. McDermott Post 309 in Helotes will be providing wreaths at the POW/MIA section at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery. The posts American Legion Riders chapter will escort the arrival of the wreaths.