Arlington National Cemetery trip inspires Pa. student's wreath project

Wreaths Across America at Antietam National Cemetery in Sharpsburg, Md., December 16, 2017.


By DAVE SUTOR | The Tribune-Democrat, Johnstown, Pa. | Published: December 15, 2018

JOHNSTOWN, Pa. (Tribune News Service) — Last year, when Sarah Stohon attended National Wreaths Across America Day at Arlington National Cemetery, she became inspired to honor deceased veterans in her own community.

The event involves placing wreaths on graves at Arlington, along with 1,400 additional locations in all 50 states, at sea and abroad. So, as her senior project, the Westmont Hilltop High School student decided to organize a ceremony at Grandview Cemetery, which is scheduled to begin at noon Saturday.

"I really felt that it was important to recognize the people who have fought for our country and the veterans," Stohon said. "I feel like a lot of younger people don't know how important the military is and what they do for us."

Stohon received help from numerous individuals and organizations, including Veteran Community Initiatives.

"I think it's an amazing project that Sarah Stohon has taken on and all of as result of taking a trip last year when she got electrified," VCI President Tom Caulfield said.

The gathering will include speeches and the placing of seven wreaths to honor members of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and Merchant Marines, along with POW/MIAs.

Wreaths will then be laid by certain veterans' graves, including those around the Grand Army of the Republic monument.

"This is our country's finest," said Mike Stohon, Sarah's father and site coordinator for the ceremony. "They represent us. They protect us. They protect our interests. They give sacrifice of every imaginable kind, including the ultimate sacrifice, for what our country stands for.

"It's impossible not to want to get behind that."

The ceremony is free and open to the public.


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