Wreaths across Palmer

Dec. 14 is “Na­tion­al Wreaths Across Amer­ica Day,” which hon­ors those who serve by lay­ing wreaths on graves. Fishtown’s Palmer Cemetery par­ti­cip­ated for the first time this year.

  • Tom Callen, adjudant of American Legion Elm Tree Post 88, salutes at the memorial. SUBMITTED PHOTO BY G. SANDY BUKOWSKI

  • Palmer Cemetery was decorated with wreaths on the graves of veterans this weekend as part of “Wreaths Across America.” SUBMITTED PHOTO BY G. SANDY BUKOWSKI

Des­pite the chilly tem­per­at­ures and inches of snow­fall, more than 50 loc­als came out to take part in a mean­ing­ful event Sat­urday — Wreaths Across Palmer, part of the na­tion­al Wreaths Across Amer­ica event.

Wreaths Across Amer­ica is an an­nu­al na­tion­wide co­ordin­a­tion of wreath lay­ing ce­re­mon­ies in Decem­ber which hon­or fallen vet­er­ans as well as those who con­tin­ue to serve. 

The event began in the 1990s, when a man named Mor­rill Worcester, own­er of Worcester Wreath com­pany in Maine found that his com­pany had a sur­plus of wreaths in 1992. Worcester had vis­ited Ar­ling­ton Na­tion­al Cemetery as a boy, and made ar­range­ments for wreaths to be placed in Ar­ling­ton. 

The pro­ject gained na­tion­al at­ten­tion in 2005, and oth­er wreath lay­ing ce­re­mon­ies began tak­ing place in sub­sequent years. 

Dec. 13, 2008 was voted by Con­gress as “Wreaths Across Amer­ica Day,” and is now held on either the second or third Sat­urday of Decem­ber. 

WAA said on its web­site that in 2008, more than 300 loc­a­tions held wreath lay­ing ce­re­mon­ies in every state, Pu­erto Rico and 24 cemeter­ies over­seas. 

In Fishtown, G. Sandy Bukowski helped or­gan­ize the Wreaths Across Palmer event this year, at 10 a.m. on Sat­urday. 

“I’ve lived in Fishtown my whole life, and I know many people in the cemetery,” Bukowski said. “We wanted it to be a nice event for the neigh­bor­hood hon­or­ing vet­er­ans. My hus­band is a vet­er­an; we try to en­cour­age re­spect for vet­er­ans.”

Bukowski said that in­di­vidu­als pay $15 for a wreath to be placed on a grave. For the event, she said that 150 wreaths were pur­chased and laid upon graves. 

Mem­bers of the Amer­ic­an Le­gion Elm Tree Post 88, Ladies An­cient Or­der of Hi­ber­ni­ans, V.F.W. Post 22, the Trust­ees of Palmer Cemetery and many more were present for the ce­re­mony. 

Bukowski said she has done work for Palmer Cemetery for some time, and is glad that the fun­drais­ing ef­forts serve double duty by provid­ing wreaths and help­ing out Palmer—$5 of the $15 paid for a wreath will go to­ward cemetery up­keep and pro­grams.

“The mis­sion seemed to bring out the best in all, a will­ing­ness to come to­geth­er for the com­mon good,” Bukowski said Monday. “I was very pleased.” 

You can reach at mjamison@bsmphilly.com.

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