Veterans honored in Sunrise Beach
December 18, 2012, 9:00 pm by Lyn Odom
Wreaths Across America was a program launched in 1992 by a gentleman named Morrill Worcestor, of Harrington, Maine, who owned a wreath company and who had experienced Arlington National Cemetery as a boy. It had a profound effect on him and years later when he found he had a surplus of wreaths after a holiday season; he worked out the details to have the wreaths laid on Veterans graves.
What began as a small remembrance has grown into a national network of volunteers whom on the same date and same time, hold the laying of wreaths ceremonies across the nation, honoring those who have fallen but who are not forgotten during the holiday season.
Saturday’s ceremony drew a fair crowd, all of whom participated in the program.
With the opening remarks, Chris Putnam said that the Sunrise Beach event was the fifth year the community had participated.
Putnam said he was very proud that they were having the Sunrise Beach ceremony in conjunction with other people throughout the U.S., all of who were honoring their Veterans at the same time.
"Ten or eleven years ago I was doing a graveside service in South Texas,” Putnam said. "I usually am in cemeteries (midday) and on this particular day the man I was working with said he had never been to a national cemetery. Since we were traveling through San Antonio, we decided to stop at Fort Sam Houston.”
"A national cemetery is one of the most solemn and sacred places I have ever been,” Putnam said. "When we got to the Fort Sam cemetery the sun was going down. When we went through the gate we just stopped. The sun was shining differently on the markers and headstones from how I’d ever seen it. It set a whole different mood in the light of the sunset. It was breathtaking.”
After Putnam’s opening remarks, Cub Scout Pack 303 posted the Colors. Reverend Joannie Jackson led the Lord’s Prayer followed by the Highland Lakes Men’s Chorus singing the Star Spangled Banner.
Following a brief and heartfelt speech by speaker Sy Shiffman, everyone joined in singing God Bless America.
The Highland Lakes Honor Guard performed a 21-gun salute followed by Taps performed by an Honor Guard member. After Putnam’s closing remarks, the entire group followed the Patriot Guard Procession to the Sunrise Beach Cemetery where the Scouts performed the wreath laying ceremony as Honor guardsman Harvey Klee made the dedication.
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