Fresh evergreens have been used as a symbol of recognizing honor and as a living tribute.
In order to honor veterans, people placed wreaths on the graves of veterans at a number of local cemeteries.
“People always ask why we put down the fresh wreaths, and it has to do with honoring our heroes,” said Carol Lemenager, co-chair of the Willows Wreaths Across America program and a member of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1770 Auxiliary.
Each year, wreaths are placed on veterans’ graves across the United States to remember their sacrifice through Wreaths Across America – a program that more than 2,500 cemeteries participated in this year.
Lemenager said about 1,350 wreaths were placed through their program – fully covering the Willows, Germantown (in Artois), Princeton, Butte City and Elk Creek cemeteries, along with part of the Maxwell cemetery.
She said in Willows at 9 a.m. they had a moment of silence, a prayer and then sent volunteers to place the wreaths.
Between 75 and 100 people helped out, she said.
“There’s a saying, a vet dies twice – when he leaves his body and when his name is no longer said,” Lemenager said. “That’s why when we lay the wreaths, we say their name and thank them for their service and that’s to keep their memory alive.”
She said there were also grandparents with their grandchildren volunteering on Saturday – and one of the goals of the program is to teach youth the value of freedom.
“We want to remember our vets, honor them and teach the children,” Lemenager said.
With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, she said people were primarily staying with their family groups and practicing social distancing.
“It was a very nice, simple day and the weather was sunshiny and beautiful,” Lemenager said.
She said for every wreath sponsored now between Jan. 15, Wreaths Across America will match it.
Sponsoring a wreath costs $15.
Checks can be mailed to VFW Post 170 Auxiliary, 525 W Sycamore St., Suite A4, Willows, CA 95988.
People can also donate online by visiting www.wreathsacrossamerica.org – to find a specific location, click “Find a specific location” and search for Willows.
Across the nation, 2,557 cemeteries participated in the day of remembrance on Saturday to remember the 1.7 million veterans buried in each of the 50 states.