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CAP to support Wreaths Across America

Hundreds of veteran graves to be honored

Washington Wing Civil Air Patrol Public Affairs photo A Washington state Civil Air Patrol Cadet places a wreath at a tombstone at the Tahoma National Cemetery during last year’s Wreath’s Across America event.

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Local Civil Air Patrol members have partnered once more with Wreaths Across America, a nonprofit organization that recognizes the courage and sacrifices of U.S. veterans by placing wreaths on the graves of the fallen during the holiday season.

This year, in tribute to the millions of men and women who have served in the U.S. armed forces — guarding and preserving America’s freedom throughout history — Maine balsam wreaths will be placed on more than 325,000 veterans’ graves at more than 800 cemeteries or memorial sites in all 50 states as well as more than 20 foreign locations.

“Our mission is to remember the fallen, honor those who serve and teach our children the value of freedom,” said Karen Worcester, executive director of Wreaths Across America.

Wreaths Across America culminates on Dec. 17 with thousands of wreaths placed on grave sites at Arlington National Cemetery and at several of Arlington’s memorials, including the Tomb of the Unknowns, while simultaneous ceremonies will be held throughout the day at other veterans’ cemeteries and memorials nationwide and abroad.

Local CAP members will participate at cemeteries and veterans homes across the state, including a Remembrance Ceremony at Tahoma National Cemetery in Kent, Wash., where veterans groups, Gold Star Mothers, active-duty, Reserve, Guard and auxiliary military personnel will be in attendance.

This year’s ceremony, which starts locally at 9 a.m., will also include a United States Marine Corps Rifle Team from Marine Barracks JBLM for a 21-gun salute and a bugler to play “Taps,” a Civil Air Patrol Cadet Color Guard, and Kentwood High School Choir will sing the national anthem.

“It is your opportunity to again honor veterans in your community,” said Maj. Gen. Joseph R. Vazquez, CAP national commander. “I wish each of you the best as together we promote Civil Air Patrol and teach the next generation the importance of honoring our country’s veterans.”

From Joint Base Lewis-McChord, members from Better Opportunities for Single Service members will place wreaths on tombstones at the Camp Lewis Cemetery Dec. 17. The I Corps Command Honor Guard will present the colors at the Evergreen Washelli Memorial Park, the largest cemetery in Seattle, for the Wreaths Across America event in Seattle Dec. 17. And the Yakima Training Center will send a guest speaker to the Lower Valley Memorial Gardens event in Sunnyside, Wash., Dec. 17.

According to Worcester, thousands of CAP members participate in the Wreaths Across America each year.

“With CAP’s help, this project has continued to see remarkable growth, Worcester said.

Twenty-four years ago, Morrill Worcester, of Worcester Wreath Co., donated the first wreaths to Arlington National Cemetery, starting an annual tradition that continues today as Wreaths Across America. Since its inception, Wreaths Across America has grown each holiday season with the CAP as a major partner.

CAP helps find sponsors for the wreaths and its members also lead or participate, often with color guards, in many of the Wreaths Across America ceremonies. Visit wawgcap.org/wreaths to donate to a CAP squadron and support Wreaths Across America in Washington state.

For more information, visit wreathsacrossamerica.org.

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