HARLINGEN — By Christmas, many hand-crafted wreaths made from American balsam fir trees will be placed on the graves of Valley veterans.
The Harlingen Veterans’ Memorial Project Committee is gearing up to participate again in the National Wreaths Across America project and is currently seeking more volunteers, donations and sponsors.
The Wreaths Across America Opening Ceremony will be held in Harlingen Saturday, Dec. 14, at the Veterans Memorial in Pendleton Park starting at 11 a.m.
From unloading and distributing wreaths to helping properly dispose of them, volunteers are able to participate in all facets of the project.
Following the ceremony, volunteers will place “Remembrance Wreaths” on the gravesites of deceased veterans in the Harlingen area.
Each wreath will be made of 10 balsam bouquets with a red velvet bow that represent qualities Wreaths Across America representatives believe veterans embody: faith, love, strength, honesty, humility, ambition, optimism, concern, pride and their hopes and dreams.
Participating cemeteries in Harlingen include the city cemetery on F Street and Ashland Memorial Park.
The committee’s goal is to raise enough funds to place wreaths on the headstones of many 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.
The annual national tradition was created in 2007 in remembrance of the sacrifices veterans have made in wars since the American Revolution.
Every year a different theme is chosen to help volunteers and supporters focus their outreach in their own communities.
The theme for 2019 is “Everyone Plays a Part,” which was created by Miles Worcester, the grandson of the founder of Wreaths Across America.
Individuals, groups or cities that are interested in participating in the Wreaths Across America project may purchase and place wreaths for veterans of their choosing.
Purchased wreaths will be available for pickup at Pendleton Park in Harlingen from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Last year, Wreath Across America location coordinator Lenore Combs led the Valley’s first Wreaths Across America ceremony.
From Girl Scout and Boy Scout troops to local law enforcement and community members, hundreds gathered during the ceremony last December to pay tribute to fallen veterans.
“I think the biggest thing about this is the fact that we are able to remember our veterans,” Combs said. “I think when we go to gravesites and respectfully say thank you for their service and that they’re not forgotten, that means a lot, especially to their families.”
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW
• The Harlingen Veterans’ Memorial Project Committee will host its second annual Wreaths Across America Ceremony Saturday, Dec. 14, starting at 11 a.m.
• The ceremony will be in Pendleton Park at the Veterans Memorial at 1425 Morgan Boulevard in Harlingen.
• Wreaths-Out Day will be Saturday, Jan. 4, at 11 a.m. at a cemetery of volunteers’ choice.
• Visit www.harlingenveterans.com to donate, sponsor, volunteer or find more information about the ceremony.
• Individuals, groups or cities interested in participating in the Wreaths Across America program may purchase and place wreaths for veterans of their choosing by visiting https://tinyurl.com/y5qyo7v7