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.”