On 16 December, several scouts ventured to Arlington National Cemetery to participate in Wreaths Across America. The National Wreaths Across America organization has a mission to Remember, Honor and Teach by coordinating wreath-laying ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery, as well as over 1,200 additional locations in all 50 U.S. states, at sea, and abroad.
There are near 250,000 graves at ANC and it takes 1000’s of volunteers to lay wreaths on those graves. Last year, 1128’s plans were cancelled due to a freak ice storm making travel dangerous. This year, the weather was bright and sunny albeit chilly. The sun and reason for participating combined to warm everyone up more than necessary.
Wreaths were placed on several relative and friends’ graves: Kyle Porter’s Grandfather (served in WWII, Korea and Vietnam – Combat Infantry Badge) and Eric Anderson’s Great Uncle (Bronze Star – Vietnam) and family friends (Husband – Purple Heart – Pentagon Sept 11th / Wife – 2 years later of breast cancer).
Many other veterans graves were visited and after laying the wreath – their names were said out loud and were thanked for their service and sacrifices. Of those the troop placed wreaths on were two WWII veterans. Both were born in 1919, survived numerous missions and died in 2014. One was US Army LTC -Third Army, landed at Omaha beach, fought in the Battle of the Bulge, marched into a defeated Germany and was awarded two Bronze Stars and field promoted to 1st LT during the battle of Metz, France. The other was US Army Air Force – COL, a bomber pilot in B-24 Liberators and B-17 Flying Fortresses , participated in the Berlin Airlift in 1948 and had commands in post-war Europe, Alaska and Korea during a 30 year career.