Senator Randy Gardner, Diane Belden and Father John Missler showing respect along with the color guard and attendees during the Wreaths Across America ceremony.
Even though the temperature was cold, warm hearts gathered in Catawba Island Cemetery to thank veterans and give them a Christmas gift; a beautiful Christmas wreath. Wreaths Across America provides this service for roughly 900 cemeteries around the United States.
Many people gathered for the ceremony despite the weather conditions. The ceremony was opened by Father John Missler of Immaculate Conception Catholic Church giving a blessing and prayer. Next organizers Reggie Langford and Diane Belden said a few words.
“Diane and I had a dream to honor the 358 veterans here in the cemetery and we made it happen,” said Langford. “We encourage you to do the same and not give up on your dreams.”
Keynote speaker at the event was Senator Randy Gardner. He first took time to thank the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and young people who were at the event. Senator Gardner said how important it is for young people to be educated about what those in the past have done for our country.
“It’s inconvenient for us to be standing out here in the cold and snow for thirty minutes, but we are here. How cold was it for our veterans while they were fighting for our freedom? How long was the Bataan Death March?” said Senator Gardner. He went on to say that it is important to honor and respect the fallen.
Tuskegee Airman Dr. Harold Brown at the Wreaths Across America ceremony
Each branch of the military was honored with a wreath being placed in the veteran’s memorial. The last wreath was placed by Tuskegee Airman Dr. Harold Brown, a Catawba resident. After the ceremony at the veteran’s memorial, family and friends were released to the cemetery to go to the graves of their loved ones. There was a box containing a wreath at each site and the wreaths were then placed on the graves to honor those who have served our country.