TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — Over 2,500 cemeteries nationwide, including one in Terre Haute, Ind., will be participating in holiday remembrance program that aims to honor veterans who have died.
The nonprofit organization “Wreaths Across America” are running an event where citizens can purchase a Christmas wreath that will be placed on tombstones of veterans across the country. One participating cemetery is Calvary Cemetery, located at 4227 Wabash Ave. in Terre Haute.
Last year’s ceremonies were scaled back due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but organizers are looking to gather more donations this year. To purchase a wreath for $15, visit the program website here.
For Calvary Cemetery property manager Larry Silver, a tribute such as this is the least they can do, to honor those who have fought for their country.
“It’s important for the community to also know that Arlington (Virginia) does this for their hero’s,” Silver said. “Well guess what, we have a lot of hero’s here in Terre Haute, Indiana and I think it’s up to us and the community to step up and show some respect.”
Navy combat Veteran Clifford Stephens of says every person who served in the military deserves this honor.
“We earned it, dead or alive,” Stephens said. “We took an oath to protect this country and the oath God, family, country. Anybody that served, deserves to have their wreath.”
Last year Silver took part in the wreath laying ceremony along with with son who is a veteran and grandson. His hope is for this year to be even more special.
“There’s nothing more exciting and emotional. To walk up to a grave, put the wreath on the grave and say the persons name,” Silver said. ” Say a little prayer and a moment of silence.”
Stephens says it doesn’t take much time to come show your support for those who have made sacrifices for our country.
“We’ve got a lot of Veterans buried out here,” Stephens said. “You’ve got a multitude of families who come and go and even though you have families that are not involved with Veterans. They’re starting to show their respect for what they’ve got.”
Organizers said in a news release that the ultimate goal is to ensure that every veteran’s grave has a wreath.
The annual Wreath laying ceremony will take place on December 18th at noon.