• 63°

Wreaths Across America reminds us to remember loved ones

By:  Leila Case

Andersonville National Historic Cemetery in Andersonville is among the military cemeteries across the nation that participate in the annual Wreaths Across America Day, a program that places live Christmas wreaths at all veterans cemeteries nationwide to honor veterans and the sacrifices they have made in American wars since the Revolution.

The Wreaths Across America (WAA) mission is to remember our fallen US veterans, honor those who serve, and teach our children the value of freedom.

Coordinated wreath-laying ceremonies take place at Arlington National Cemetery and more than 1,600 other veteran’s cemeteries in all 50 states, at sea and abroad. Locally there are several organizations that sponsor and encourage donations and volunteers to place wreaths on gravesites.

For the past three years, we and many others from our community and beyond have donated a wreath or multiple wreaths to WAA in memory or honor of a loved one and designated Andersonville National Historic Cemetery to receive the wreaths.

There are more than 20,000 graves of veterans and their families at Andersonville National Cemetery. Last year more than 13,000 wreaths were donated and placed on the gravesites but this year donations of the live wreaths have dropped significantly, Steve Stanfield, when he spoke to members of the Council of Safety, DAR at their monthly meeting last week.

Stanfield said thus far about 5,000 wreaths have been sponsored – this is less than in years past. The goal is 26.7 percent with14, 802 percent more to go. The reason for the sharp decline is more than likely due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

So it’s important that we all rally and donate a wreath or wreaths and help decorate as many gravesites as possible. One live wreath tied with a festive red bow is only $15; two is $30 and so on. To sponsor one or more wreaths please click on www.wreathsacrossamerica.org and be sure that you designate Andersonville National Cemetery (GAANHC) 14802 in the appropriate place. The deadline to receive donations is November 30.

The 2020 Wreaths Across America ceremony is scheduled for noon, Saturday, December 19 at the Rostrum in Andersonville. It is a very impressive event that will fill your heart with gladness to participate in this worthy holiday event. Please join me there.

Elsewhere, it’s already beginning to look a lot like Christmas in downtown Americus and I am so ready to see cheerful streetscapes up and down the downtown business district. The annual festival of trees festooned in varied themes along with a huge lighted and decorated tree for the centerpiece brightens Rylander Park on West Lamar, while merchants up and down the streets have festooned their store front windows as well as the interior of their store in an effort to showcase their merchandise.

And all in time for the Downtown Holiday Open House beginning at 5 p.m. and continuing until 8 Thursday evening. So put on a mask and come on downtown, get some early Christmas shopping in and enjoy delicious refreshments everywhere you go. Provided you’re not loaded down with gaily wrapped packages when you see me please wave to me.

There have been so few places to go and people to meet since last March when we had to “hunker down” because of the COVID-19 pandemic that continues to rage like a wild fire that  Bruce and I were excited to “get out of town” last Saturday.

We helped Reid Shivers celebrate his fifth birthday at a dinosaur themed party hosted by his parents Aaron and Brook Shivers and little sister, Lydia, 3. Among his relatives there were grandparents Lori and Andy Shivers of Americus, and Jayce and Donna Raper of Leesburg. Others were Cayce and Kaitlyn Raper and toddler son, Lincoln, of Braselton, Lauren Vann and sons, Bennett and Andrew, Brad and Cindy Hagerson and sons Tildon and Gray and Clara Grace Shivers.

Sending out get well wishes to Buck Levins of Cobb.