Wreaths Across America

Roman Martin

When this appears in print, we will only have about two months to obtain a sponsorship for the wreaths that will be placed on the gravesites of veterans of the uniformed services of the United States. Shipping times for the fresh balsam wreaths from Northern Maine to Valley of the Sun Cemetery in Chandler requires that sponsorship forms be received no later than December 1, 2019.

We have received news that, this year, our memorial service will be expanded to include veterans of the United States Public Health Service (USPHS) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). This will expand our memorial to seven uniformed services. The last two are considered veterans, even though they are not a part of the Department of Defense. They have served alongside members of the Armed Services in all of our country’s conflicts, starting in 1899 with the war with Spain. Additionally, the USPHS provides healthcare to the U.S. Coast Guard, serving at Coast Guard bases and aboard Coast Guard ships. Our Coast Guard continues to serve in the War Against Drugs in Central and South America.

The addition of the two services has added a teaching moment for us to remember and honor those men and women who have served our country in war and in peace. It is also our opportunity to teach others about the sacrifices that they continue to endure.

The Chandler Elks Lodge #2429 is asking our friends to sponsor wreaths to honor the 2,700 veterans interred in Valley of the Sun Cemetery on Chandler Heights Road. We are receiving support from other veterans’ organizations such as the Chandler Navy Club, American Legion, Korean War Veterans, Jewish War Veterans, and others. Cost to sponsor a wreath is $15.00, and a portion of that cost is returned to the community to assist us in providing support to local veterans in need. All donations, no matter how small, are tax deductible.

We will meet at the cemetery at 9 a.m. to place the wreaths on the gravesites, followed by a short memorial service honoring the seven uniformed services. The guest speaker this year will be Mr. Jack Holder, a Pearl Harbor survivor and Sun Lakes resident. The service is short, and all are welcome.

To obtain a sponsorship form or for additional information, contact Roman Martin at 602-330-1906 or Nancy Espy at 480-202-0181.