On Saturday, Dec. 15, Cherokee cadets spent the day at Mountain Home National Cemetery in Johnson City placing wreaths on military graves.
In the last three years, the Cherokee NJROTC has raised $37,687 for this worthy cause.
The residents of Rogersville and Hawkins County have supported this effort in an extraordinary way and have given so much to show their support of the veterans that sacrificed, some with their own lives, defending freedom around the world.
The 2018 Wreaths Across America ceremony began at noon.
The invocation was given and the national colors were presented by Sullivan South’s Air Force JROTC. After the national anthem, 60 seconds of silence was observed in memory of veterans’ service.
The master of ceremonies for the event was Alan Jackson, who serves as historian for the Johnson City/Washington County Veterans Memorial Foundation, the East Tennessee Veterans Memorial Association, Tri-Cities Military Affairs Council and American Legion King’s Mountain Post No. 24.
The keynote address was given by David Carter, WAA Location Coordinator, Mountain Home.
According to Carter, more than 4,000 wreaths were placed last year and more than 4,000 this year.
A three-volley rifle salute was performed by American Legion Post 3/265 Honor Guard. At the conclusion of the opening ceremony, taps was played by Andy Wilson, American Legion Post 3.
Seven wreaths were presented individually during the ceremony to honor each individual branch’s active personnel, veterans and fallen.
Upon conclusion of the ceremony, Cherokee NJROTC and other groups walked throughout the cemetery and honored the fallen veterans laid to rest there by placing wreaths with red bows on thousands of graves.
After placing the wreaths on the gravesites, cadets took a couple of steps back, offered a hand salute, said the name of the veteran being honored and expressed thanks for that person’s service.
In no particular order, Cherokee NJROTC cadets who were in attendance included: Heather Whitt, Kameron Sauceman, Jewel MacGregor, Jade Owens, Katlyn Ramsey, Travis Baxley, Robert Greene, Emily Aviles, Trenton Williams, Kendall Chamberlain, McKenzie Warden, Nick Swatzell, Alora Waller, Miguel Dominguez, Ian Stewart, Zachary Eisenhuth, Gabe Lyons, Cynthia Pierce, James Bond and Nathaniel Johnson.