Wreaths memorialize those who served the nation
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.
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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.
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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.
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.