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Local veterans remembered during the holidays

Wreaths Across America Day observed at Lincoln Cemetery, Freedom Wall

At 11 a.m. on Saturday Dec. 15, members of surrounding communities will gather together to honor veterans during the holiday season as part of the annual Wreaths Across America Day.

Daniel K. Schliffka, MSgt, USAF (Ret.) and Operation Care Package members have volunteered to conduct the WAA ceremony this year at Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery.

Simultaneously, Marseilles residents will gather at the Freedom Wall overlooking the Illinois River for a separate WAA ceremony.

The Marseilles Middle East Tribute Committee has volunteered to conduct that ceremony.

Specially designated wreaths for the Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, Merchant Marine, and POW/MIA will be placed during each ceremony, as well as at over 750 other participating locations all across the Country.

At each site, seven ceremonial wreaths will be placed to remember all soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines who served, honor their sacrifices, and teach our younger generations about the high cost of our freedoms.

Currently over 4,400 wreaths are slated for delivery to Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery.  There are over 31,000 Veterans buried at Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery at this time.

The ceremony at the cemetery will also have a flag line consisting of 150 American flags standing tall and held by veterans, military and ROTC.

If you are a veteran and would like to participate in the flag line, please arrive by 10 a.m. to join in the ceremony.

Volunteers will be hosting a free luncheon following the Abraham Lincoln Cemetery event for volunteers and attendees at Stone City VFW, 124 Stone City Dr., Joliet.

If you would like to donate towards the event or sponsor a wreath for next year, please call Debbie Smothers at (815) 723-6960 for more information.

The Wreaths Across America story began over 20 years ago when the Worcester Wreath Company from Harrington, Maine, initiated a tradition of donating and placing wreaths on the headstones of our nation’s fallen heroes at Arlington National Cemetery.

Recognition of the service and sacrifice of our veterans, and their families, is especially poignant during the traditional holiday season.

Wreaths Across America’s mission is to Remember, Honor, and Teach — Remember the fallen; Honor those who serve, including their families who sacrifice; and Teach our children the cost of the freedoms we enjoy each day.

It is the organization’s shared belief that... “The nation which forgets its defenders will soon be forgotten.’ — Calvin Coolidge

WAA pursues its mission with nationwide wreath-laying events amid the holiday season, and year-round educational outreach inviting all Americans to appreciate our freedoms and the cost at which they are delivered.

In 2012 it is projected that over 400,000 wreaths will be placed nationwide, by over 150,000 volunteers as part of the Wreaths Across America mission to Remember, Honor, and Teach.

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