The historic Oakwood Cemetery at 763 Portage Road in Niagara Falls is proud to be part of the 2012 "Wreaths Across America" remembrance ceremony as one of the two designated locations in Western New York. At noon on Saturday, Dec. 15, Oakwood Cemetery will lay seven ceremonial wreaths honoring each branch of the military, including Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Merchant Marines and POW/MIAs.
The ceremony is open to the public and local officials and dignitaries are invited. The Patriot Guard Riders, several American Legions and VFW posts, and the Niagara Falls Veterans Memorial Commission will be represented. The City of Niagara Falls Police Honor Guard will present the colors; the national anthem will be sung; and Taps will be played. There will be one minute of silence to remember the fallen; the prisoners of war; the missing in action; and to honor those who have served and are serving in this nation's armed services.
"Wreaths Across America" is a non-profit organization founded to continue and expand the annual wreath laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery. The ceremonies symbolizes that, by gathering at memorial sites across America to remember U.S. veterans, citizens show they are united as one nation under one flag.
All "Wreaths Across America" ceremonies are carried out by coordinating with the Arlington National Cemetery ceremony at noon on the second Saturday of December. Wreaths are simultaneously laid in designated cemeteries across the U.S.
The mission of the "Wreaths Across America" organization is to remember, honor, teach. "Wreaths Across America" began in 1992 when Maine businessman Morrill Worcester found that his business, the Worcester Wreath Company of Harrington, had a surplus of wreaths at the end of the holiday season. With the help of Maine Sen. Olympia Snowe, arrangements were made for the wreaths to be placed at Arlington National Cemetery.
In 2005, U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Jim Varhegyi took a picture of the wreaths placed on the graves at Arlington National Cemetery. The picture went viral on the Internet with hundreds of people asking if they could have a ceremony in their area.
Oakwood Cemetery is a not-for-profit organization. All contributions to the Oakwood Cemetery Preservation Fund through purchases could be tax deductible, but check with your accountant to be sure. The proceeds support the work of restoring and preserving historic Oakwood Cemetery. Wreaths are in limited numbers.
For more information and to purchase a wreath to remember your loved one, visit www.myoakwoodcemetery.com or call 716-284-5131.