Nine cemeteries throughout the area will host ceremonies as part of the annual Wreaths Across America program this Saturday.
Coordinator Cindy Languell said approximately 4,000 wreaths have been sponsored this year for laying on the graves of veterans. The cemeteries that will be taking part in the ceremonies on Saturday include Sutter, Yuba City, Meridian, Live Oak, Sierra View, Colusa, Wheatland, Pleasant Grove and Fairview.
All ceremonies will start at 9 a.m., coinciding with the start of a ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery and other similar ceremonies across the country. Languell said all the ceremonies will begin with a moment of silence, the idea being that there will be a simultaneous moment of silence across the country.
After the moment of silence, the individual cemeteries have the freedom to conduct their own unique ceremony.
“They can do whatever they want,” Languell said. “They have full control.”
A script from Wreaths Across America is provided to each site that is usually followed, according to Languell. Part of what is in the script is a description of seven wreaths that will be present at each ceremony that represent all the branches of the military as well as prisoners of war and those missing in action. The seven wreaths are meant to honor the veterans who won’t have a wreath laid directly on their graves.
Local organizations and individuals that will be taking part in officiating some of the ceremonies on Saturday include Tom Walther from Early Risers Kiwanis, the Yuba City Rotary Club, the Meridian Lions Club, the Live Oak Lions Club, American Legion Post 807 in Linda, the Beale Composite Squadron 19 Civil Air Patrol, the Matthew Axelson Division U.S. Naval Sea Cadets, the Veterans of Foreign Wars Colusa and the Pleasant Grove Fire Protection Association Auxiliary.
Languell said she is coordinating the ceremonies in the area, there will be services at cemeteries in Grass Valley, Gridley and other nearby counties as well.
All ceremonies will be rain or shine, Languell said. Those who attend a ceremony on Saturday will have the opportunity to participate.
“If they attend, they can place a wreath on a veteran’s grave,” Languell said.
Wreaths Across America is still accepting donations online that will go toward ceremonies next year. In addition, Languell said non-profits or schools can register their organization for a fundraiser next year online. Organizations that participate in the program through a fundraiser keep $5 on every wreath that is sold.