Veterans honored at Christmas
■ More than 750 wreaths placed on veteran’s graves at Oak Hill Cemetery.
A mix of community members gathered at Oak Hill Cemetery on Saturday morning to help lay wreaths on the headstones of veterans buried in Siloam Springs.
The occasion is called “Christmas Honors,” and was facilitated by the American Legion Siloam Post 29. It was sponsored by LaZ-Boy and Walmart and this was the first year for it to take place. Others who helped make the day possible were volunteers from the community as well as the Decatur High School Football team, who came to help prepare the wreaths on Friday night at the parks and recreation office.
The morning began at 9 a.m., a time that families of deceased veterans were invited to lay wreaths on graves of their loved ones. Afterward a ceremony, which was open to the public, began with the posting of the colors from Post 29’s Honor Guard. Following the posting of the colors was the national anthem, a prayer and a brief speech from Siloam Springs Mayor John Turner, who explained the significance of the day.
“Why a wreath?” Turner asked. “Back in the days when the Romans were conquering most of the world as they knew it at that time, they would use a wreath or a laurel and place it on the crown of the victors, whether it was war or sporting events, whatever it might be, the wreath was used as a symbol of honor. That is what we are doing today, as some of us have already come here earlier and placed wreaths on our family’s tombstones and we’re going to have a bunch more put out here in just a little bit, and that’s what you are doing, you are honoring those men and women who gave their time and many of them their lives, for our country.
“Many paid the ultimate sacrifice in making sure that we have the opportunity to come here today, speak out and honor them. We just want to keep them in our hearts and in our prayers, and their famililies, and we want to publicly thank them and the families who gave their loved ones to serve in our armed forces.”
The Battle Hymn of the Republic was played after Turner’s address, followed by a rifle salute that was carried out by members of Post 29 and afterwards, attendees were given instructions to begin laying wreaths. The event is expected to take place again next year and Post 29 is also asking for volunteers to help with removing and storing the wreaths, which is scheduled to take place on Jan. 5 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., according to a Dec. 12 report from the Herald-Leader.
The American Legion Siloam Post 29 operates out of the Community Building, located at 110 N. Mt. Olive St. For those interested in helping with removing the wreaths or for any other questions about Post 29, call Marie Wilbanks at 850-520-0335.
The American Legion Siloam Post 29 hosted “Christmas Honors” on Saturday morning at Oak Hill Cemetery. The event’s purpose was to honor the more than 750 fallen veterans that were buried at the cemetery by placing wreaths on each of their headstones. Before this took place, the morning also featured the posting of the colors from Post 29’s Honor Guard, a prayer, the national anthem, a rifle salute and a short speech from Siloam Springs Mayor John Turner. Above, a boy looks down at a veteran’s headstone after placing a wreath on it.
American Legion members performed a rifle salute just before before the laying of wreaths on the headstones of deceased veterans.