Hundreds flocked to Ft. Knox this past Saturday for their second annual Wreaths Across America event.
Wreaths Across America is a ceremony held each December where wreaths are placed on veterans’ graves with the mission to “Remember, Honor and Teach.” Ceremonies coordinate at more than 1,600 locations in all 50 U.S. states, at sea and abroad.
The cemetery on Ft. Knox is something that not many are aware of. However, in 2016, the cemetery achieved National Shrine Status, an honor that has only been achieved at the cemetery on post and at the Arlington National Cemetery. The cemetery has 817 headstones.
Before last year, Ft. Knox didn’t receive enough wreaths to cover each headstone in the cemetery. Last year, Kevin Bowman, POC for Wreaths Across America, decided to make an effort to change that. After serving 22 years in the Army and having sons who served, he felt that veterans buried at the cemetery on Ft. Knox deserved recognition.
“One day, it’s going to be more or one of my sons,” said Bowman. “I just couldn’t see another year going by where these veterans didn’t get recognized.”
Bowman welcomed this year’s participants and visitors at the beginning of the ceremony. Boy Scouts of America Troop 155/128 and Girl Scouts of America Troop 685 led those in attendance in the Pledge of Allegiance. Major Jonathan Lee then gave the invocation. Fort Knox Commanding General Major General John. R. Evans, Jr spoke about the importance of the young people in attendance, saying that it was important this tradition be carried on through future generations.
Military officials then began the ceremonial wreath laying. Wreaths were laid in honor of those in the U.S Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, Merchant Marines, as well as on behalf of the Prisoners of War and Missing in Action and the Gold Star Families.
After this, people flocked to stacks of wreaths to lay them on graves, whether they knew the deceased or not. Volunteers were encouraged to read the name of the soldier out loud in order to help keep their memory and honor. The Meade County Messenger donated $180 to help purchase wreaths for Ft. Knox. We would like to thank all of the businesses that participated!
For more information on Wreaths Across America, visit www.wreathsacrossamerica.org.