National Wreaths Across America Day is Saturday, Dec. 14, and for the first time, Covenant Greenwood Cemetery in Ebenezer will be part of the observance. Covenant Greenwood is the final resting place for 1,100 veterans, some dating back to the American Revolution.

Wreaths Across America (WAA) is a national non-profit organization of volunteers and supporters dedicated to remembering and honoring America’s veterans by organizing wreath-laying ceremonies at cemeteries in all 50 states and even abroad. It’s usually in December during the busy holiday season.

Last year, nearly 1.8 million wreaths were placed on veterans’ headstones at 1,640 participating cemeteries in honor of the service and sacrifices made to preserve our freedom. Until now, Covenant Greenwood was not one of those locations.

With most of the national attention focuses on the large cemeteries like Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, or regional cemeteries like Indiantown Gap National Cemetery and Mount Lebanon Cemetery, smaller cemeteries are usually not involved unless someone in the community does something about it. That’s what happened at Covenant Greenwood.

In a phone interview with Location Director, Ebenezer native Bonnie Loy told LebTown that the subject was first discussed at a meeting of a group she belongs to, the Daughters of The American Revolution. From there, the idea was pitched to the Ebenezer Beautification Committee. Loy is on the committee.

Loy said the Committee has secured the funds to decorate about half of the veteran graves this year, and hopes to expand that number each year. There is still time to order one or more wreaths from the WAA website and you can specify delivery to the Covenant Greenwood Ebenezer cemetery when you check out. Each hand-crafted wreath is made of all American balsam with a red velvet ribbon and priced at $15. They are made by volunteers at the WAA Headquarters in Maine.

On the day of the event, a memorial service will begin at 12 noon and is open to the public. The service will feature local veterans and a possible fly-over by the Liberty Warbirds. That will be determined by the weather. The Liberty Warbirds is a group of veterans who have restored and fly a classic Vietnam War-era Huey 823 helicopter to give Vietnam vets a chance to “reconnect” with the sights and sounds of the aircraft that was the workhorse of U.S. Forces in the late 1960s. There will also be a Toys For Tots collection site at the cemetery.

ELCO High School student Georgia Martin has been helpful recruiting volunteers for the wreath-laying duties. She has enlisted the support of the ELCO Girls Softball Team, the Ebenezer UMC Youth Group, the Ebenezer Fire Company, and others.

Wreaths Across America was founded in Columbia Falls, Maine in 1992 by businessman Morrill Worcester and his wife Karen as a way to REMEMBER, HONOR AND TEACH: Remember the fallen, Honor those who have served, and Teach future generations about the values of freedom. The theme for this year’s event is “Everyone Plays a Part.” The group hit their national goal of 41,000 wreaths last Wednesday, but there’s still time to donate.

The Covenant Greenwood Cemetery is located about three miles north of Lebanon on Route 72 in Ebenezer. It is operated and maintained by the Covenant United Methodist Church, located at 346 N. 9th St in Lebanon.

For more information or to donate a wreath, visit the Covenant Greenwood Ebenezer Cemetery page here on the Wreaths Across America website.

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