HARLINGEN — While visiting the graves of your loved ones during the Christmas holidays this year, expect to see large forest-green, hand-made remembrance wreaths dispersed across several cemeteries in the Lower Valley.
On Dec. 15, local members of Wreaths Across America, a national nonprofit organization, will host its first ceremony in Harlingen to honor every fallen veteran in the Lower Valley by laying remembrance wreaths on their graves.
The nonprofit’s goal is to raise enough funds to place wreaths on the headstones of all of the veterans who have been laid to rest in the Valley, bring communities together in patriotic commemoration and to ensure the individuals who served to protect the United States will never be forgotten.
“We want our friends and neighbors to see the tradition as a living memorial to veterans and their families whom we remember amid the hustle and bustle of the holiday season,” said project coordinator Lenore Combs. “We believe that the sacrifices they made are worth the effort.”
Each wreath will be made of 10 balsam bouquets that represent qualities the nonprofit believes veterans embody: faith, love, strength, honesty, humility, ambition, optimism, concern, pride and their hopes and dreams.
The Harlingen Veterans Memorial Project Committee described it as a labor of love and an ongoing process in its early stages.
Wreaths Across America personnel also need help identifying every veteran’s grave, so they are asking for family and friends of fallen veterans to submit their veteran’s name, lot and plot number, rank, service and the name of the cemetery.
The nonprofit is seeking volunteers to participate in all facets of the project from unloading the wreaths, to placing them at the gravesites, to gathering and properly disposing of them.
If you go
What — Harlingen’s Wreaths Across America Opening Ceremony
When — Saturday, Dec. 15 at 11 a.m.
Where — Veterans Memorial at Pendleton Park, 1425 Morgan Boulevard
• San Benito
• La Feria
• Los Indios
Remembrance wreath prices
1 wreath — $15
4 wreaths — $60
10 wreaths — $150
60 wreaths — $900
Interested in volunteering, buying, sponsoring or donating a remembrance wreath?
• Call — Lenore Combs at (956) 245-1276
• Email — Lenore Combs at LJCombs44@gmail.com
The cut-off date for donations and sponsorships is Nov. 11.