Cadets were asked to collect donations in the community to buy wreaths from the Wreaths Across America Foundation. Each wreath cost $15, but any donation was accepted, and hundreds of Hawkins County residents contributed to the cause.
Over the last three years, Hawkins County residents have shown their support for veterans by helping Cherokee’s NJROTC raise $27,198 for Wreaths Across America.
At the ceremony, held earlier this month, David Carter, location coordinator, said 4,000 wreaths were placed this year and more than 3,100 were placed last year.
In 1992, Morrill Worcester of Worcester Wreath Company had a large surplus of wreaths, and toward the end of the holiday season, with the help of Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine, he visited Arlington National Cemetery and chose to donate the remainder of his wreaths to a less-visited section of the cemetery.
The annual tribute went unnoticed for 13 years, but in 2005 a picture of the wreaths placed on veterans’ graves made its way around the Internet. Soon afterward, thousands of requests came in to continue the tradition.
In 2006, wreath-laying ceremonies were held in more than 150 locations. And in 2007, Wreaths Across America was gaining popularity in many places and spread as a nonprofit organization dedicated to laying wreaths on the graves of veterans. In 2008, more than 300 locations held ceremonies all around the world for the laying of the wreaths. On Dec. 13, 2008, Wreaths Across America Day was established.
Cherokee NJROTC cadets who participated in the Dec. 16 event at Mountain Home included: Emily Andrews, Laura Andrews, Arizona Baker, Travis Baxley, Kendall Chamberlain, Adreyan Collins, Austin Davis, Zachary Eisenhuth, Noah Elkins, Aaron Gatewood, Shalyn Gordon, Shannah Gray, Caleb Hamilton, Destiny Harnage, Emily Harris, Jade Helfman, Nicole Jacobson, Brooke Johnson, Matthew Justice, Sydney Lilly, Gabe Lyons, Jewel Macgregor, Austin Manning, Elizabeth Massengill, Jade Owens, Johnny Pearson, Cynthia Pierce, Kameron Sauceman, Chris Seals, Jared Short, Sara Sirkin, Nick Swatzell, Gavin Taylor, Bradley Thacker, McKenzie Warden, Heather Whitt and Zachary Strauss.
Story courtesy of Cadet Lt. Emily Harris