Wreaths memo­ri­al­ize those who served the na­tion

The Advance of Bucks County - - NEWTOWN AREA - By Petra Ch­es­ner Sch­lat­ter

UP­PER MAhEcIELD -- Two ev­er­green wreaths with vel­vet bows were placed on the grave of U.S. Marines Corps Pvt. goseph g. Shan­non, who served dur­ing World War II. He was re­cently laid to rest at the Washington Cross­ing Na­tional Ceme­tery.

The sym­bolic ges­ture is part of the third an­nual Wreaths Across Amer­ica, which hon­ors veter­ans for their ser­vice by plac­ing a wreath on their graves. The lo­cal ob­ser­vance took place at the ceme­tery lo­cated at Washington Cross­ing-New­town Road (Rt. 532 and High­land Av­enue, on Satur­day, Dec. 15.

WUHDWKV AFURVV APHULFD LV D nRnSUR­fiW or­ga­ni­za­tion founded to con­tinue and ex­pand the an­nual wreath lay­ing cer­e­mony at Ar­ling­ton Na­tional Ceme­tery be­gun by Maine busi­ness­man Mor­rill Worces­ter in 1992.

The group’s mis­sion - Re­mem­ber, Honor, Teach - is car­ried out, in part, by co­or­di­nat­ing wreath lay­ing cer­e­monies in De­cem­ber at Ar­ling­ton, as well as veter­ans’ ceme­ter­ies and other lo­ca­tions in all 50 states and be­yond.

At Washington Cross­ing, Shan­non’s dear friends had walked a good dis­tance to reach his burial site. The Wreaths Across Amer­ica cer­e­mony had taken place ear­lier in front of the new ad­min­is­tra­tion build­ing where an es­ti­mated 800 to 1,000 peo­ple had as­sem­bled.

Shan­non was pos­si­bly a sur­vivor of D-Day, though it is not known for cer­tain.

He car­ried a bul­let in his right shoul­der un­til the day he died years af­ter. He passed away on Aug. 2T at the age of 89.

His neigh­bor, Pam Hynd, who made one of the wreaths for his grave, had spent a lot of time vis­it­ing with Shan­non dur­ing his later years. He told her some war sto­ries.

“He said they came off the boat and there was shoot­ing,” she said.

Elizabeth Craw­ford, Shan­non’s long­time com­pan­ion, added, “He was driv­ing a geep.”

Hynd said the bul­let could have gone through Shan­non’s heart. “He al­ways told me if the bul­let went an­other way, I wouldn’t be here.”

Shan­non was one of more than 4,000 de­ceased veter­ans who were hon­ored at the Wreaths Across Amer­ica cer­e­mony. In­cluded in the pro­gram was a “Trib­ute of Seven – Wreath De­tail” in which a rep­re­sen­ta­tive from each branch of the mil­i­tary car­ried a wreath and placed it at a des­ig­nated lo­ca­tion in front of the au­di­ence. Af­ter the trib­ute, pa­tri­otic mu­sic by the Loch Ran­noch Pipe C Drums wafted through the air.

-RH HRJDn, Dn RI­fiFHU wLWK 7KH GuDUdLDnV, led the cer­e­mony by in­tro­duc­ing Ruth Cush­ing­berry, a stu­dent at Harry S Tru­man High SFKRRO, wKR VDnJ, “APDzLnJ GUDFH.” HRJDn said she has a “beau­ti­ful voice.”

The Rev. goseph Hor­nick, pas­tor of St. Basil WKH GUHDW &KuUFK Ln DLVKPRUH, wDV WKH JuHVW speaker. Born and raised in Bucks County, the pas­tor served as a U.S. Army cap­tain dur­ing the siet­nam War.

Hor­nick gave an in­spi­ra­tional speech. “Two-hun­dred and thirty seven years ago, GHRUJH WDVKLnJWRn OHd D dHPRUDOLzHd Hx­hausted rag­tag Con­ti­nen­tal Army across the Delaware -- the his­toric site of Washington Cross­ing,” he said.

“APHULFDnV Ln WKH fiHOd RI FRPEDW KDvH never fal­tered,” said the pas­tor. “Even af­ter 19,000 Amer­i­can troops died at The Bat­tle of the Bulge in De­cem­ber of 1944 or the 13,000 who died mostly in hand-to-hand com­bat tak­ing Ok­i­nawa. The Amer­i­cans per­se­vered. 7KHLU FRuUDJH Dnd VDFUL­fiFH NnHw nR ERundDUies.”

In his clos­ing re­marks, Ho­gan said that the Wreath Across Amer­ica cer­e­mony at The Cross­ing gets “big­ger and big­ger ev­ery year. It’s go­ing to get bet­ter.”

Af­ter the cer­e­mony, Capt. Robert Mon­tJRPHUy RI WLOORw GURvH VDLd FDdHWV wHUH there from his group, the 902nd Search and Res­cue Squadron of the Civil Air Pa­trol, wKLFK LV EDVHd DW WKH HRUVKDP ALU GuDUd Sta­tion.

The Civil Air Pa­trol is the U.S. Air corce DuxLOLDUy. 7KHy wHUH DVNHd WR EH WKH flDJ-EHDUers for the cer­e­mony, which Mont­gomery said is a “very high honor. We had a cadet carry WKH APHULFDn flDJ – &DSW. AOHF DDvLdVRn.”

BHIRUH WKH FHUHPRny, GLUO SFRuWV IURP Troops 58T and 21842 of the Rock United Ser­vice Unit placed the wreaths against the graves with the bow down and saluted or put their hand over their heart. Peo­ple would later set the wreaths in a dif­fer­ent di­rec­tion with the bows fac­ing out­ward.

Stephanie hrauss, 12, a sev­enth-grade stu­dent at Rich­boro Mid­dle School, said she en­joyed help­ing. “It felt good to do that and we were here to thank the peo­ple who served and died for our coun­try,” hrauss said.

Lau­ren hoestler, a stu­dent at Hol­land Mid­dle School, and Cassandra Bryant, a stu­dent at Rich­boro Mid­dle School, were among the GLUO SFRuWV KHOSLnJ DW WKH FHOHEUDWLRn. 7KHy each re­ceived spe­cial patches from Wreaths Across Amer­ica for their par­tic­i­pa­tion.

Girl Scouts Lau­ren Koestler, a stu­dent at Hol­land Mid­dle School, and Cassandra Bryant, of Rich­boro Ele­men­tary, re­ceived spe­cial patches for their par­tic­i­pa­tion in the cer­e­mony.

Pho­tos by Petra Ch­es­ner Sch­lat­ter

Elizabeth Craw­ford and Pam Hynd placed wreaths on the gravesite of their dear friend, Joseph J. Shan­non (March 9, 1923 to Aug. 27, 2012)

Matt Smith of the Coun­cil Rock School District sang “Proud to be an Amer­i­can” writ­ten by Lee Green­wood.

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