Several hundred people braved raw, bone chilling weather to place wreaths on the graves of veterans Saturday (12/18) at Resurrection Cemetery on Krocks Road in Allentown.
The annual “Wreaths Across America” event remembers fallen veterans; honors those who serve, along with their families; and teaches the next generation the value of freedom.
Bishop Alfred Schlert offered the Invocation and Concluding Prayer. Resurrection is one of two diocesan cemeteries.
There are about 1,500 veterans buried in the cemetery, but this year, the group had only enough donations to buy 800 wreaths, according to John Fitzpatrick, one of the organizers. He noted that Wreaths Across America is currently matching donations for next year’s event, and asked donors to visit the organization’s website and select Resurrection Cemetery.
After a nationwide moment of silence at noon and a brief ceremony, volunteers fanned out to place the wreaths. The same process was playing out simultaneously at 2,700 locations across the United States.
The program began in 1992 when a surplus of wreaths from the Worcester Wreath Company in Maine were sent to the Arlington National Cemetery in honor of veterans.
Ceremonial wreaths on behalf of various service branches were presented by: Army – Zina Dawson and Ruth Joyce; Air Force – Mark Karoly; Marine Corps – John Lesniak, Joseph Malia, and a group of other Marine veterans; Navy – Deacon Anthony Brasten; Coast Guard – Walt Conway; Merchant Marines – Bryan McLaughlin; and Space Force, Tom Koslowski. Scott Hillegass presented the ceremonial wreath on behalf of those who are Missing in Action and who were Prisoners of War.
The event was sponsored by St. Luke’s University Health Network.
For more information or to donate for next year, visit the Wreaths Across America website.