DUBLIN, Va. – More than a thousand veterans will not be forgotten this holiday season in Dublin as each one was honored with a Christmas wreath on Saturday.
With bagpipes kicking off the ceremony, hundreds of people dabbed their tears as they found their loved ones’ names at the Southwest Virginia Veterans Cemetery.
Volunteers and family members spread out 1,600 wreaths to honor the fallen American heroes.
Ginger Clayton’s father was laid to rest in October, and Ginger said when people lay the wreaths they should say the names aloud.
“That ensures that a veteran’s name will always be said until the end of time,” she said. “Even when I’m not here to say it or grandchildren, nieces, or other family, we want to be sure they are not forgotten.”
About 50 volunteers placed the wreaths as well, including Mary Reuben.
Five years ago, Reuben’s husband was buried at the cemetery after a marriage of 52 years. Her husband, Wendell, served in the Vietnam War and received a purple heart after returning home wounded.
“I get down and out,” Reuben said. “But I think about things, and I say, ‘Well, that’s not what he would have wanted. You don’t want to go back. You have to keep moving forward.’”
The tradition carries heavy meaning to Mary Lou Summers.
As an organizer of the event, she knows how families feel as her husband’s gravesite is in Arlington.
“I know how they feel because I know how I would feel if I was up there,” Summers said. “I know somebody else today has laid a wreath on his gravesite.”