Organizers for the county’s inaugural participation in the national Wreaths Across America drive are finalizing plans for December’s ceremony at Woodland Cemetery.
“The wreaths should arrive Wednesday or Friday (before the Saturday ceremony) and we had enough money to buy more than 200 wreaths,” said Juanita Southers, who has been handling the local arrangements.
Southers of Ironton and friend Linda Dalton of Pedro went to Arlington National Cemetery last December to join 80,000 others to place wreaths on the graves of fallen soldiers from all wars and all branches of the military. They wanted to bring the service to their home county.
The wreaths, made of fresh evergreens, symbolize honor and service and will placed on the veterans section of the cemetery in a ceremony on Dec. 15. They will remain on the graves until Jan. 12.
The Ironton ceremony will be one of thousands happening at the same time across the United States.
There are approximately 950 graves in the veterans section and volunteers plan to place the wreaths on the perimeter. Besides the individual wreaths there will be seven wreaths placed at the section in honor of the seven branches of the service.
Members of each branch will place their respective wreath. Representatives for the Air Force, Navy and Coast Guard are still needed.
The project was funded by donations from the public, drawing $2,600 in contributions to a fund set up at Citizens Deposit Bank. That account will remain open so those wanting to can make donations throughout 2013.
“It has just been from people who have called and made personal donations,” Southers said.
Also the national organization donated a free wreath for every wreath purchased. Those personal wreaths can be placed at other cemeteries at the discretion of the buyer.
Those with personal wreaths are asked to contact Southers at (740) 532-0181 or Dalton at (740) 533-0893. The wreaths can be picked up after the ceremony at the cemetery office.
Response for the first-time venture has been good, Southers said, from “people who know what it is and understand. Next year it will catch on more and more.”