American Legion Post 257 in Vineyard Haven will conduct a special Wreaths Across America ceremony to honor veterans nationwide at 11 am on Friday, December 13, at the directory at the Avenue of Flags in the Oak Grove Cemetery in Vineyard Haven.
Island veterans will place seven holiday wreaths at the directory to represent the branches of military service, as well as prisoners of war and those missing in action, in honor of the men and women who have given their lives in service to their country.
Similar ceremonies will take place in more than 600 locations in the U.S. and around the world on Saturday. Dukes County Veterans Agent Jo Ann Murphy
moved the Island’s ceremony up by one day this year to continue a tradition of attendance and participation by Tisbury School fifth-graders.
The Worcester Wreath Company in Harrington, Maine, is donating the specially made wreaths. For 22 years the company has provided more than 5,000 holiday wreaths to place on every headstone at Arlington National Cemetery.
Wreaths Across America (WAA) was formed as a nonprofit organization to extend the Arlington ceremony to national and state veterans’ cemeteries, monuments, and community centers across the U.S.
The WAA mission is to “remember the fallen, honor those who serve, and teach our children the value of freedom.”
Ms. Murphy arranged for the Vineyard’s participation in the wreath program starting in 2006. In addition to ceremonial wreaths, civic groups nationwide make donations to sponsor wreaths to place on veterans’ graves in designated sections of participating cemeteries.
For more information, call Ms. Murphy at 508-693-6887 or visit the website WreathsAcrossAmerica.org.