The Patriots Press covers a lot of events during any given year; few of them are as near and dear to my heart as Wreathes Across America. It is a special day that is the culmination of countless hours, phone calls, hard work, and tears from Maine to Hawaii and Florida to Alaska, and everywhere in between. In the end, millions of the graves of our fallen heroes from every war and every generation are adorned with a simple wreath, a singularly private holiday memory that acknowledges that the individual in each grave is no longer present with their loved ones, and a huge symbol of the spirit of patriotic Americans that have not and never will forget them.
When I arrived at the National Cemetery in Lake Worth around 10:30 I was thrilled to see so many cars and people already there preparing to join the hundreds of thousands across America in this undertaking. We were blessed to be able to do so under the bright sunny skies of South Florida while many others braved freezing weather in wintry conditions. It didn’t matter, because in the end, this isn’t about we who were doing the honoring, it is about those we came to honor, and this is the very least we can do today.
As always, the group was greatly supported nationwide by Walmart Corporation who supplies thousands of wreathes, the trucks and drivers to haul them, and all amenities for everyone on hand when the trucks were unloaded on Friday in preparation of today’s events. Simply getting there is also an event with hundreds of motorcycles, made up of Patriot Guard Riders and other groups escorting those trucks all along the routes to the various National Cemeteries.
At precisely 12:00, there was a one minute long moment of silence done in collaboration with all of the other ceremonies across America. During that moment, there was a flyover by a vintage ‘Huey’ helicopter which broke the silence as a brief and understandable applause ensued.
At the conclusion of the very brief and wonderful invocation, speeches, and benediction, those in the gathering were asked to not simply place wreathes on the grave stones, but to reflect for a moment on the sacrifice of the person buried there. This was a teaching moment not only for the children in attendance, but also every adult
There were many highlights to this day, and I can’t even begin to mention them all, however, besides the well-deserved and extended standing ovation for past POW Air Force Captain Bill Arcuri as he placed his wreath at the flag, there was one other person in attendance that got my attention. We were honored to have a 94 year old WWII Navy Vet in attendance. Mr. Bosse was led to the guest/speaker tent, and I don’t think there was a dry eye in the house when he was recognized.
As the event closed out with the final note of ‘Taps’ wafting off into the warm Florida afternoon, I came away from this year’s event in somber, reflective silence. The Patriots Press salutes all of the companies and volunteers that devote time, effort, and resources to this amazing event every year, and as always we salute all of our men and women currently in uniform, and those who have fallen during their self-less devotion in the service of our nation.