By Crystal Burns
Live wreaths adorned with red ribbons will be placed on the monuments of more than 220 veterans buried at Oakland Cemetery in Trenton during a Wreaths Across America ceremony Sunday, Dec. 20 at 2 p.m.
Betty Poteet, chairperson of the Oakland Cemetery Association Committee, and Trenton Alderman CeCe Jones spent about six weeks this fall garnering support for Wreaths Across America. Because they didn’t feel comfortable hosting fundraisers this year due to COVID-19, they counted on community members to show their gratitude to veterans by purchasing the wreaths for $15 each. For every two wreaths sold, Wreaths Across America donated one.
“We are beyond thrilled at the support we’ve received,” Jones said. “I think people are excited about this.”
The committee purchased 250 wreaths, 28 of which family members or friends will place on the monuments of veterans buried at other cemeteries, through the Tennessee State Veterans Cemetery Wreaths Across America Committee. Those wreaths will be available for pick up at the Oakland Cemetery gazebo Saturday, Dec. 19 from 2:30 to 4 p.m.
Jones said local leaders were grateful to Anita Darnell, the Wreaths Across America coordinator for the veterans’ cemetery at Parkers Crossroads, for her gracious help this year. She has also offered to help Oakland Cemetery Association members organize their own Wreaths Across America committee next year.
Volunteers are needed to help with the Dec. 20 ceremony, and all veterans are encouraged to help place the wreaths at Oakland Cemetery. The program will also honor prisoners of war and those missing in action.
To volunteer, please contact CeCe Jones at 731-225-5297 or Betty Poteet at 731-414-8815.
Wreaths Across America coordinates wreath-laying ceremonies at more than 2,100 locations across the United States, at sea, and abroad. The mission is to remember fallen U.S. veterans, honor those who serve, and teach children the value of freedom.
“We understand we have Veterans Day in the fall and Memorial Day in the spring, but our service members sacrifice their time and safety every single day of the year to preserve our freedoms,” the Wreaths Across America website states. “In many homes, there is an empty seat for one who is serving or one who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. There is no better time to express our appreciation than during the hustle and bustle of the holiday season.”
This year’s theme is “Be An American Worth Fighting For.” For more information, visit www.wreathsacrossamerica.org.