Fallen soldiers honored

Wreaths placed in Fort Richardson National Cemetery


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U.S. Marine Corps First Sgt. Matthew Fouss salutes after placing a wreath at Fort Richardson National Cemetery on Saturday, Dec. 14.

MIKE NESPER

Dozens gathered at the Fort Richardson National Cemetery on Saturday, Dec. 14 to pay homage to the soldiers who died while serving our country.

Seven wreaths were placed in honor of those who served in the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Coast Guard, Merchant Marines and for prisoners of war/missing in action. Following that ceremony, volunteers laid wreaths at several graves.

The event is to pay respect specifically for fallen soldiers, said Cary Kimball, Wreaths Across America coordinator.

“We have lots of holidays for veterans,” he said. “But this is to remember those who aren’t coming home.”

A national nonprofit started in 2007, Wreaths Across America conducts ceremonies in all 50 states. Its mission: remember, honor, teach.

The organization has expanded the annual wreath-laying ceremony — started by Maine businessman Morrill Worcester in 1992 at Arlington National Cemetery — to more than 800 cemeteries and more than 1,000 fundraising groups, according to a JBER press release.

Last year, more than 400,000 wreaths were placed at 815 cemeteries. At Arlington, 105,000 wreaths — more than 25 tractor-trailer loads — were placed.

The event also recognizes the families of those who lost their lives, Kimball said, which is why it’s held in December, during the holidays.

Alaskans purchased the wreaths laid at Fort Richardson National Cemetery for $15.

Snow was falling as volunteers added green wreaths with red bows to veterans’ final resting places.

The Christmas colors adorning gravestones surrounded by freshly fallen white snow made for quite a sight, Kimball said.

“It’s always real beautiful.”

 

Contact Mike Nesper at 694-2727 or mike.nesper@alaskastar.com.

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