Wreaths Across America covers entire Eastern Shore Veterans Cemetery
HURLOCK — Overcast skies and rain didn’t deter hundreds of volunteers from laying wreaths on the graves of veterans at the Eastern Shore Veterans Cemetery Saturday, Dec. 15.
The effort is a national one, sponsored by Wreaths Across America, which has wreaths laid on graves at more than 1,400 locations in all 50 states. For the first time this year, wreaths were laid on five beaches in Normandy, France.
Before wreaths were placed Saturday, a small ceremony was held honoring veterans from around the country. A member from each branch of the military laid a memorial wreath honoring veterans serving or who have served across the country. Worcester Veteran Memorial Foundation President Marie Gilmore led the ceremony.
“This has got to be the most people that have ever come out to lay wreaths on national Wreaths Across America day,” Gilmore said. “This is also the very first year that this cemetery has been covered completely. That is in large part to you. ... So today, we will show a united front of gratitude and respect across this United States of America as we remember the fallen, honor those who serve and teach our children the value of freedom.”
Gilmore spoke about the other organizations involved in Wreaths Across America, including the Federated Garden Clubs of Maryland and multiple American Legion Auxiliary units across the Eastern Shore. She thanked all involved in readying the cemetery for Wreaths Across America day.
Doris Key, who oversees the Federated Garden Clubs of Maryland’s District 1 covering 11 counties in the Eastern Shore, said it was important to remember sacrifices veterans have made for the country.
“Freedoms we enjoy today have not come without a price,” Key said. “Lying here before us and in
cemeteries throughout this nation are men and women who gave their lives so that we can live in freedom and without fear.”
Key said the laying of wreaths was one of the small ways residents could honor veterans who had given their lives for American freedom.
“The United States of America was founded on the ideals of freedom, justice and equality,” Key said. “Our nation stands as a shining beacon of liberty and freedom of the world. We thank those who gave their lives to keep us free, and we shall never forget you; we shall always remember.”
Key said it was important to remember veterans each day who have made the ultimate sacrifice for the countr y.
“Quoting our 40th President Ronald Regan, ‘Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction,’” Key said. “’We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream, it must be fought for, protected, handed on for them to do the same.’”
Volunteers lay wreaths on veterans’ graves at the Eastern Shore Veteran’s Cemetery Saturday, Dec. 15.
Volunteers lay a wreath on a veteran’s grave at the Eastern Shore Veterans Cemetery Saturday, Dec. 15.
Volunteers lay wreaths on graves at the Eastern Shore Veteran’s Cemetery Saturday, Dec. 15.
Marie Gilmore, President of the Worcester Veterans Memorial Foundation, speaks to audience members during Wreaths Across America day at the Eastern Shore Veteran’s Cemetery Saturday, Dec. 15.
Paul Holmes salutes a memorial wreath to Merchant Marines during the Wreaths Across America ceremony at the Eastern Shore Veteran’s Cemetery Saturday, Dec. 15.
Eastern Shore Veteran’s Cemetery Superintendent Bruce Webster lays a wreath honoring Marine veterans during the Wreaths Across America ceremony at the Eastern Shore Veteran’s Cemetery Saturday, Dec. 15.
Federated Garden Clubs of Maryland District 1 Supervisor Doris Key speaks to the audience during the Wreaths Across America ceremony at the Eastern Shore Veteran’s Cemetery Saturday, Dec. 15.