CAP cadets to participate in Wreaths Across America

By Tyler Hemstreet on November 26, 2011

It might be cold and it might be raining on the morning of Dec. 10, but a group of local Civil Air Patrol cadets will be out in force putting wreaths on the graves of local veterans.

It's all part of Wreaths Across America, a week-long collection of events made possible by thousands of volunteers who organize local ceremonies, raise funds to sponsor wreaths and participate in the events. The celebration receives no government funding, and the cost of the program is paid for by individual wreaths sponsors, corporate donors and volunteer truckers.

The week features special memorials for Pearl Harbor, Bunker Hill, Charleston Naval Shipyard and a wreath for every victim of 9-11 in New York City, the Pentagon, and Shanksville, Pa.

Locally, Civil Air Patrol cadets, as well as senior cadets, will be putting wreaths on the crosses at the military cemetery at Covington.

"It's a real honor for them to participate in it," said Lt. Col. Lorraine Robertson, the McChord Field squadron's executive assistant who has participated in the wreath-laying event for the last few years.

In the weeks leading up to the event, CAP cadets have set up tables at the McChord B/X and sold wreaths.

"A lot of times, people will come up and purchase a wreath and ask the cadets to lay it on a grave for them," Robertson said. "They think it's quite an honor for them to be able to it."

In past years, Gold Star mothers and fathers at the Covington cemetery have greeted cadets and handed out cookies and hot chocolate to express gratitude for their efforts, Robertson said.

With the CAP's involvement, which began in 2006, in the Wreaths Across America has ballooned from a local and limited operation to a national passion. Last year, more than 161,000 wreaths were placed on the graves of American Soldiers in observances at 405 cemeteries and memorials across the nation.

"This is where the CAP should be," said Maj. Gen. Amy Courtner, CAP's former national commander. "Through this event we memorialize those who gave the ultimate sacrifice, while we honor those who are still with us."

The ceremony before the wreath laying at the Covington cemetery starts at 9 a.m. For more information on Wreaths Across America, visit