Thousands of holiday wreaths to be laid at the Wilmington National Cemetery

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The group lays wreaths on the graves of veterans during the holidays.

Organizers said this event has been going on for 26 years and is a great way to honor fallen veterans and their families.

Grave by grave, more than 2,000 veterans in two North Huntingdon cemeteries were honored with wreaths, salutes and thank-yous Saturday with the inauguration of a new chapter of Wreaths Across America.

More than 20 years later, Wreaths Across America volunteers decorate service members' graves across the United States every year. 40 drivers will move 18 trucks across America stopping at Fayetteville National Cemetery, Fort Leavenworth National Cemetery, Fort Snelling National Cemetery, Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery, Miramar National Cemetery, Golden Gate National Cemetery, San Joaquin National Cemetery, Riverside National Cemetery, and various other national cemeteries.

In addition to the honor guard, there were several uniformed members of the Norwin High School JROTC among the crowd of about 200 laying wreaths.

By using live wreaths, which individuals and businesses sponsored for $15, the nonprofit organization seeks to remember veterans' lives, not to focus on their deaths, Willette said.

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During the ceremony, a service member from each branch of the USA armed forces carried a wreath, decorated with a red bow, to the cemetery's tomb of the Unknown Soldier monument, and rendered a salute.

Saturday's event saw 560 wreaths placed on headstones by 35 volunteer veterans, assisted by fourth- and fifth-grade students from St. Ambrose Catholic School.

"Ivy Green Cemetery is now the final resting place for approximately 500 veterans", said Schrader.

"They served their country and they served us".

Ivy Green Cemetery has a large military section, honoring fallen men and women of all services.