Cold, rain didn't stop wreath laying

Dec. 14, 2013 @ 04:22 PM

A little before noon Saturday, people and volunteers began gathering for the Wreaths Across America wreath laying ceremony at Lakeland Memorial Park in Monroe.

Attendees of the event included family members of veterans, members of local Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion posts and others.

Around noon the ceremony began and despite cold, windy weather and rain sprinkling down during it, everyone stayed until the end. Volunteers along with some who attended the ceremony, stayed afterwards to lay wreaths on veterans' graves.

"Rain or shine, snow or sleet, we never give up," Ryan Stafford, who is retired from the U.S. Marine Corps and helped organize the event, said in reference to still holding the ceremony despite the weather.

People could be seen bundled up in coats and huddled under umbrellas throughout the ceremony. Many said they enjoyed the ceremony and how it honored veterans during the Christmas season. Some who attended could be seen with bittersweet expressions as they came out to show their respect for veterans while at the same time remembered veterans they had lost over the years.

"I think it's marvelous that they remember veterans in such a nice way," Carol Ford said in reference to Saturday's ceremony and wreath laying.

Her husband, Richard Ford, was a veteran of the Korean War and is buried at Lakeland Memorial Park, Ford said.

Saturday's ceremony began with local veterans placing wreaths for the different branches of the military. Afterwards a few words were said about the wreaths and the purpose of the ceremony before attendees gathered wreaths and dispersed to lay the wreaths on the different veterans' graves. Members of local Junior ROTC programs were some of the volunteers present who helped lay wreaths on graves.

"JROTC is mainly about helping others and I want to help and honor veterans," Pressley Lindsey, a member of Piedmont and Porter Ridge High School's Junior ROTC, said in reference to why she wanted to be part of Saturday's event.

In all they had more than 400 wreaths to lay this year, many of which were laid at Lakeland Memorial Park, Stafford said.

Around 180 of the wreaths were planned to be laid in the cemetery in Marshville and about 60 others were planned to go to other cemeteries around Union County, he said.

For more information about Wreaths Across America visit www.wreathsacrossamerica.org.