“Wreaths Across America” comes to Sun Lakes

Roman Martin

As this is written, it is hard to think about cooler weather and Christmas. Elk’s Veterans Assistance Committee of the Chandler Lodge of the B.P.O.E. #2429 is participating in this patriotic endeavor to place a wreath on the grave of each veteran from any service or timeframe. Our target is Valley of the Sun Cemetery where there are in excess of 1,100 veterans interred.

In 2007, veterans’ groups joined with the Worcester family to form “Wreaths Across America” to expand the practice of placing wreaths at Arlington National Cemetery. The non-profit organization continues the Arlington tradition as part of its mission to Remember, Honor and Teach and expands it to other cemeteries with significant numbers of veterans’ graves.

Last year, volunteers placed wreaths on over 1,204,000 graves in over 1,200 locations across the U.S.A. Over 2,800 groups and corporations joined to raise the funds to purchase the balsam wreaths. Many more trucking companies donated the shipping to deliver the wreaths across the country, including over 500 wreaths to Valley of the Sun Cemetery on Chandler Heights Blvd.

This parade of wreaths will start in Harrington, Maine, on Sunday, December 10, and travels to Arlington National Cemetery and the other participating cemeteries around the nation. It is known as the world’s longest veterans’ parade, stopping at schools, monuments, veterans’ homes and communities along the route. The purpose of the parade is to remind all of us how important it is to all generations to continue to Remember, Honor and Teach.

Our mission is to Remember-Honor-Teach. We welcome anyone to join us in fulfilling this mission on December 16 at Valley of the Sun Mortuary and Cemetery on Chandler Heights Road between Alma School and Arizona Avenue.

To purchase a wreath, please contact Nancy Espy at 480-202-0181 or Roman Martin at 602-330-1906. A donation of $15.00 will insure that a wreath will be delivered to Valley of the Sun Cemetery where it will be placed on a grave Saturday morning, December 16, by volunteers. Anyone interested in assisting is welcome.