Wreath tribute to honor fallen Valley veterans

It’s a solemn tribute to honor fallen veterans.

A simple, elegant wreath placed on every veteran’s grave during the holiday season. Now imagine that coming to our area.

On Dec. 15, local members of Wreaths Across America, a national nonprofit organization, will host the Valley’s 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.

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 tradition was created to ensure the lives of veterans are remembered, not their deaths.

In 2017, more than 1.5 million veteran remembrance wreaths were placed on headstones at more than 1,400 participating cemeteries around the country.

“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 Wreaths Across America Committee coordinator Lenore Combs. “We believe that the sacrifices they made are worth the effort.”

After the Wreaths Across America Opening Ceremony, volunteers, friends and family will be escorted to participating cemeteries and will be able to lay wreaths at the graves of fallen veterans.

If friends or family would like to purchase a wreath for their fallen veteran, an order can be placed with Combs. The last day to place an order is Nov. 11.

So far, the Wreaths Across America Committee has raised about $1,500 and 20 people have ordered wreaths.

However, the committee is still in need of more funds and volunteers.

From unloading wreaths and distributing wreaths to helping properly dispose of them, volunteers are able to participate in all facets of the project.

MORE INFO

Wreaths Across America mission statement

• Remember the fallen.

• Honor those who serve and their families.

• Teach the future generations about the sacrifices made to preserve our freedoms.

How did Wreaths Across America start?

• In 1992, Worcester Wreath Company owner Morrill Worcester began making arrangements for wreaths to be placed in one of the older sections of the Arlington National Cemetery that had been receiving fewer visitors each year.

• Every year, the groups of volunteers Worcester received with the wreath-laying increased and in 2007, the Worcester family, along with veterans and other volunteers formed Wreaths Across America to continue to expand their efforts and to support other groups around the country who wanted to do the same.

• The wreath-laying is still held annually on the second or third Saturday of December.

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 Wreaths Across America Coordinator Lenore Combs at (956) 245-1276 or email LJCombs44@gmail.com

Cut-off date for donations and sponsorships is Nov. 11.

If you go

WHAT: Harlingen’s Wreaths Across America Opening Ceremony

WHEN: Saturday, Dec. 15

TIME: 11 a.m.

WHERE: Veterans Memorial at Pendleton Park, 1425 Morgan Boulevard