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Wreaths Across America has two public events scheduled for Friday, Dec. 16, at Indiantown Gap National Cemetery, in advance of the nationwide events planned for Saturday, Dec. 17.
On Friday around 9 a.m., 42,000 wreaths will arrive at Indiantown Gap National Cemetery to be staged for Saturday’s ceremony. Wreaths Across America is calling for volunteers to help lift, transfer, and move the 36-pound wreath boxes. There are also roles for counters and wreath samplers.
Volunteers can park at Memorial Lake State Park and take shuttle buses throughout the day. Organizers said that only motorcycles participating in the convoy whose riders will be assisting with unloading may park in a cemetery lot.
Local partners in the event include Sherwin Williams of Fredericksburg, UPS, NAPA Transportation, Sheetz, High Transit, Cornerstone Moving & Storage, Jagtrux, Tyson Foods, and BRS Trucking.
After their days-long trek from Maine to Pennsylvania, tractor-trailers and drivers will be welcomed and thanked for delivering the wreaths at 8:30 a.m. Friday as they arrive at Fort Indiantown Gap. The convoy parade will move down Fisher Avenue toward the cemetery. Any motorcycles who would like to participate are asked to be at Lickale Legion 910 by 8 a.m. for staging.
“Our Wreath Across America Campaign has been a HUGE SUCCESS because of YOU,” said organizers in a release. “Let’s start these cherished days out with a salute to the drivers who VOLUNTEER their time to escort these wreaths from Maine to Pennsylvania.”
Due to ongoing construction at the cemetery, this year’s ceremony will be held in a parking lot across from Columbariums A&B. The ceremony includes the the placement of nine ceremonial wreaths to honor each of the Armed Services, Merchant Marines, POW/MIAs, and The United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Officer Corps.
Wreaths Across America is a national nonprofit organization that conducts wreath-laying ceremonies at cemeteries across the country to remember, honor, and teach the public about the services and sacrifices of the nation’s military veterans.
On Wreaths Across America Day (Saturday), more than 3,000 cemeteries across the country will participate in simultaneous ceremonies at noon, followed by wreath placements. The ceremony will last approximately one hour and attendees are recommended to dress warmly and wear comfortable shoes for the outdoor ceremony. Seating will be limited.
The program is funded through donations. The wreaths typically cost $15 each, and the organization places hundreds of thousands of fresh balsam wreaths annually.
The majority of WAA wreaths placed locally on Dec. 18 will be at the federally managed Indiantown Gap National Cemetery, which serves the states of Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Virginia, and West Virginia. Other participating cemeteries in Lebanon County include Covenant Greenwood Ebenezer Cemetery, and Mount Lebanon Cemetery.
For more information about Friday’s events, visit the Indiantown Gap National Cemetery chapter of Wreaths Across America on Facebook.
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