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“Taps” for Wreaths Across America Memorial Service at Evergreen-Washelli in Seattle

Posted by glennled on January 9, 2013

Courtesy of Wreaths Across America (WAA)

Courtesy of Wreaths Across America (WAA)

Last month on 15 December 2012, Wreaths Across America (WAA) sponsored and coordinated the placement of 420,000 remembrance wreaths by almost 200,000 volunteers on the headstones of our nation’s fallen military in 825 locations in America and abroad. At Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, more than 20,000 volunteers laid 110,662 wreaths. This was the 21st annual wreath-laying event.

Courtesy of WAA

Courtesy of WAA

In 1992 in Harrington, Maine, as the Christmas holiday season drew to a close, the Worcester Wreath Company found itself with a surplus of fresh, evergreen wreaths. The owner, Morrill Worcester, made arrangements to have the wreaths placed in one of Arlington cemetery’s older sections where fewer visitors were coming each year. A local trucking company transported the wreaths to Virginia, and American Legion, VFW, and other volunteers decorated each wreath with the traditional, hand-tied red bows and laid them on the headstones. There was also a special ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

VFW Post 1040 Honor Guard, WAA ceremony, Veterans Memorial Cemetery, Evergreen-Washelli, Seattle, 12-15-’12. Photo by Nathan W. Bradshaw, PA3, USCG.

VFW Post 1040 Honor Guard, WAA ceremony, Veterans Memorial Cemetery, Evergreen-Washelli, Seattle, 12-15-’12. Photo by Nathan W. Bradshaw, PA3, USCG.

That started the annual pilgrimage to and event at Arlington National Cemetery which continues today. Others across the nation wanted to participate in their own national, state, and local cemeteries, and so in 2007, WAA was created. The mission of this non-profit organization, now based in Columbia Falls, Maine, is to “Remember, Honor, Teach.”

Lt, U.S. Coast Guard. Photo by Nathan Bradshaw, PA3, USCG

In the state of Washington, 18 cemeteries are affiliated with WAA. The four largest are the Tahoma National Cemetery in Kent (23,000+ graves; 15,500 veteran graves and 13,000  veteran columbarium niches); Evergreen-Washelli-Veterans Memorial Cemetery in north Seattle (5,000+ veteran graves); Mountain View Cemetery in Walla Walla (37,000 graves; 2,500 veteran graves); and Washington State Veterans Cemetery in Medical Lake (550 veteran graves).

At Veterans Memorial Cemetery at Washelli, this was the 3rd annual wreath laying ceremony sponsored by the Navy Wives Club #277. King5-TV again covered the event in a superb report. Please see http://www.king5.com/video/yahoo-video/200-wreaths-cemetery-183725091.html. You’ll see the VFW Post 1040 Honor Guard fire three perfect rifle volleys, hear the post piper play some of “Amazing Grace,” and hear me play “Taps” in the background as the reporter tells the story. For a description of the previous year’s event, please see my post of 16 December 2011.

Please click on any photo to enlarge it. Here are links to the websites of other organizations mentioned in this post:

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