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Veteran wreaths to be laid Dec. 17

Richard Reuer

Minot

Find a Way to Serve is this year’s Wreaths Across America theme in remembering our fallen, honoring those who serve and teaching our children the value of freedom. In the past nine years Minot Wreaths Across America and Minot Civil Air Patrol has been every year sharing the Wreaths Across America mission throughout our community.

Every year, throughout the year veterans displays have been set up at the Grand Hotel, Ward County Historical Society – Pioneer Village Museum and Dakota Square Mall, just to name a few reminding our community to never forget those who have served as well as those who have not come back to be with their family members.

When these displays have been set up, application forms have been made available to those who visit each of the displays reminding them to Give the Gift of Remembrance! For when sponsoring a veteran’s wreath, they are ensuring an American hero is honored, both the living as well as our fallen comrades.

I want to thank Dean Verstraete for helping me make contacts to over 100 donors who had not responded back on sending their applications which were mailed out back in September. Most of those we had called mentioned that they had not received theirs through the mail. In fact, I received one that was postmarked September 16, and came back to me undeliverable just a couple weeks from our cutoff date and they had even contacted me about applications mailed out to them.

We have reached our goal of 1,398 wreaths for both Sections 12 & 16, Medal of Honor Memorial Site-Roosevelt Park, Nine Gates of Rosehill Memorial Park, 4 Civil War graves at entrance 3 and plenty left over for our fallen North Dakota heroes buried in Arlington.

Laying of wreaths will take place on Saturday, December 17, at Rosehill Memorial Park Cemetery at 11:00 a.m. There will be the placing of 8 ceremonial wreaths for each branch of service and POW/MIA, with and additional one that will be honoring all our Vietnam Veterans both living and fallen. In the past we would always select a soldier’s grave and have an honorary soldier and family member to lay the first wreath. This year we decided to make the wreath for each war era each year. Next year will be for the Persian Gulf era and following that year will be back to WWI and etc.

With all this being said, I do have one announcement and that is, this will be my last year being the coordinator for our location due to health issues and ordered by my VA provider to step down and let someone else take charge of the coordination of Wreaths Across America.

In saying this, I want to thank all who have sponsored and kept Wreaths Across America going here in our community. It will be hard at first to let go and let someone else take on this program and trust that those who have been sponsoring in the past years will continue to support this program in my absence.

My personal motto using all the past and present themes, always remember: Find a way to serve – Be their witness for everyone plays a part to be an American worth fighting for. Live up to their legacy.

I would like to share another veterans display that most of you may know about, and that is the Unknown Soldiers Tree of Honor, which is sponsored by The Salvation Army. For every $100 that is counted in their kettle, veterans will be asked to help hang a dog tag on the tree located in the Dakota Square Mall near the main entrance by AT&T. This tree of honor is to honor our service men and women who are away from home during the Christmas holiday and for the family members who have lost a fallen hero and there is every year and empty chair at their family holiday traditional dinner table. If The Salvation Army reaches their goal of $80,000 there is a Gold Star at the top of the tree which on December 23, we hope to invite a local Gold Star Family member to light that star. This tree is to remind those of us the Christmas they never had.

Thank you and God bless you and have a Merry Christmas.

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