Harlingen to host Wreaths Across America ceremony

A Wreaths Across America Opening Ceremony was held at Pendleton Park Dec. 15, 2018, with hundreds of residents and volunteers from surrounding cities in attendance. (Maricela Rodriguez/Valley Morning Star)

HARLINGEN — Although it’s been a year like never experienced before, organizers and project members have worked together to adjust during these trying times to continue their annual tradition of honoring and remembering fallen veterans.

The city of Harlingen Veterans’ Memorial Project Committee and Veterans Advisory Board are set to host a small private Wreaths Across America (WAA) opening ceremony on Saturday at the Veterans’ Memorial in Pendleton Park.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the event will not be open to the public.

However, organizers state that the city will conduct a live streaming of the presentation.

“The Wreaths Across America mission to remember, honor and teach is the foundation behind all our efforts,” WAA location coordinator Lenore J. Combs stated in a press release. “The challenge was providing our tribute in a way that is consistent with safety and in compliance with local COVID-19 recommendations and mandates.”

An honor guard will place the ceremonial wreaths in the Veterans’ Memorial at the rock with branch seals.

There will be a specially designed “Wreath Will-Call” location at the Veterans’ Memorial on Saturday between 8 a.m. and noon for those who have ordered a wreath.

Combs stated that the decision to amend this year’s traditional wreath laying was not made lightly.

“We have gone great lengths to address public safety while maintaining the best interests of families whose loved ones are interred in the Harlingen area cemeteries,” Combs stated. “These continued efforts prove our resolve and tell the story of our commitment to our fallen veterans and their families while demonstrating our appreciation for everything they have done to preserve the freedom that we all enjoy today.”

According to Combs, donations this year have been sparse.

“Every $15 wreath sponsorship is a meaningful gift from a grateful American who knows what it means to serve and sacrifice for the freedoms we all enjoy,” Combs stated. “Whether the wreath is placed this December or next, know that your gift will be honored.”

For more information about the ceremony or to sponsor a wreath, visit www.harlingenveterans.com or call Combs at (956) 245-1276.

“We are forever grateful to the good people of this great nation, especially Harlingen for participating in our mission to remember, honor and teach,” Combs stated. “Looking forward to next year — a big piece missing was all our special volunteers, especially the youth groups.”