“There’s a small ceremony here at the cemetery where we discuss what Wreaths Across American is and what it means to our veterans in remembering them,” explains Benton. “Then there’s a ceremonial placement of each of the branches of service wreaths. Then we ask the volunteers that are out there for the ceremony to help us take wreaths and go place the throughout the cemetery.”
Benton notes that the mission of Wreaths Across American is to remember, to honor and to teach.
“I really like the saying they have on their web site,” Benton comments. “It says a person dies twice. Once when they take their final breath…and later the last time their name is spoken.”
Volunteers taking part in the placement of wreaths throughout the cemeteries are asked to say the name of the veteran whose grave they’ve chosen so that his or her legacy may be remembered once again.
*Note - This ceremony was originally scheduled for Dec. 17, 2016 but was postponed due to severe weather conditions. A similar ceremony at the Black Hills National Cemetery in Hot Springs - also scheduled for Dec. 17, 2016 - was held on Dec. 18, 2016.
Holiday Wreath-laying to Honor Veterans
What: Black Hills National Cemetery will host Wreaths Across America, a holiday wreath-laying ceremony to honor and remember our nation’s Veterans. The Knights of Columbus, Veterans service organizations and citizens are coordinating the event to honor Veterans of each branch of the military, the Merchant Marines as well as Prisoners of War and those still Missing in Action (POW/MIA).
Who: Members of the Knights of Columbus, representatives from the military services, Veterans and their families.
When: Dec. 23, 2016, at 8:00 a.m.
Where: Black Hills National Cemetery
Address: 20901 Pleasant Valley Drive, Sturgis SD 57785
Contact: Adriene Benton, Cemetery Director