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Wreaths Across America campaign seeking support

November 1, 2012
The Herald-Star

For the fifth consecutive year, the George Washington Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution is participating in the Wreaths Across America campaign with local sponsors being sought to purchase wreaths that will be placed in the National Cemetery of the Alleghenies in Washington County, Pa.

Wreaths Across America remembers the fallen, honors those who serve and teaches children the value of freedom, according to Gary W. Timmons, local Wreaths Across America chairman and a member of the locally based George Washington Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution.

WAA sets a goal to generate sponsors for wreaths that will be placed on veterans' graves in each national cemetery across the country, including the National Cemetery of the Alleghenies.

Wreaths cost $15 each and are tax-deductible. To participate, a check made payable to Wreaths Across America can be mailed to Timmons at 13 Elm Lane, Wheeling, WV, 26003-4905. Timmons also can be contacted at (304) 242-8759.

Nov. 15 is the sponsor deadline.

All wreaths received by the local chapter will be used at the Washington County, Pa., cemetery, an occasion at noon Dec. 15 to which sponsors are invited to join with chapter members, families, veterans, school and youth groups to help distribute the wreaths. Last year, 3,700 wreaths were placed on the graves at the Pennsylvania cemetery. The above photo shows a part of the cemetery on what was a snow-free December day.

On Dec. 9 at 4 p.m. at Cabella's in the Highlands, the SAR chapter will have a wreaths ceremony for the local community with a ceremonial laying of seven wreaths for the various branches of the service.

The origin of Wreaths Across America dates back 21 years when Merrill Worcester, the owner of a nursery located in Harrington, Maine, had an over abundance of Christmas wreaths and nothing to do with them. Remembering a trip he had taken as a paperboy to Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C., he got the idea to donate his excess wreaths to the cemetery to be placed on veterans' graves as a gesture of remembrance and honor for those men and women who served their country.

By 2011, the movement spread to 740 cemeteries in the United States and 25 veterans cemeteries on foreign soil with nearly 400,000 wreaths placed.

The National Cemetery of the Alleghenies was established in 2005 on approximately 300 acres near the Washington and Allegheny county line. The George Washington chapter started its partnership with the NCA in 2008 when it raised the funds to buy and donate and electric four-person cart to transport families around the cemetery. The chapter also dedicated a "memorial boulder" along a memorial walk "in memory of all the Revolutionary War soldiers whose burial site is known only to God."

George Livingston of Weirton, historian of the local SAR chapter and a past president, noted that for every two wreaths purchased, a free one is provided.

Livingston has attended the ceremonies each of the past fives, calling them impressive and moving.

"We're hoping for a big year."

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