By Roz Weis,
Area residents turned out to help with the nonprofit Wreaths Across America Day effort Saturday, Dec. 17, at the Minnesota State Veterans Cemetery in Preston, Minn.
Each December on National Wreaths Across America Day the mission is to remember, honor and teach. The effort is carried out by coordinating wreath-laying ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery, as well as more than 3,400 additional locations in all 50 United States, at sea and abroad.
The Minnesota State Veterans Cemetery at Preston, Minn., (MNSVCP) was among the cemeteries decorated this season.
Nearly 200 wreaths were sponsored locally. Volunteers joined family members and came together to lay memorial wreaths at Veterans’ graves ahead of the holiday as part of the national program.
Several from the Decorah area were among the volunteers.
Decorah’s Stacey Gossling said, “This is actually the second year Janelle (Halverson) and I have done it. And this year Halley (Wise) was able to join us and my daughter (Chloe) came down from Minneapolis to participate as well.”
Gossling said she has seen first-hand the importance of remembering Veterans for the ultimate sacrifice.
“It’s really a cool thing,” she continued. “They have a ceremony before hand, and then send families and volunteers out to decorate the loved ones graves.”
“When you put the wreath down, you must say their name,” she continued. “Because by saying the Veteran’s name they will never be forgotten.”
Gossling is a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). Her father graduated from West Point Military Academy.
“I kind of grew up knowing the importance of the sacrifices these men and women endure.”
The event remembers Veterans from the Revolutionary War to present day conflicts. The tradition started back in 1992 when a wreath company in Maine had a surplus of wreaths near the holidays, and laid the wreaths at a Veterans cemetery.