NEW BERN, NC (WNCT) – There are 6,773 tombstones which make up the New Bern National Cemetery. Nearly 5,000 wreaths are now placed on those tombstones for Christmas.
One special wreath was placed to remember more than 81,000 people who are prisoners of war or missing in action, soldiers who’ve never been able to return home. Other wreaths were placed by friends and families. It was a time of remembering and connecting with their loved ones.
“The veterans are here obviously, but their families are still around and still alive. So it’s a way to give back to the family, let them know that sacrifice has not been forgotten, it’s a way to thank the veteran for their service and also it teaches the next generation all about service, sacrifice, and hard work,” said Kevin Yates, Wreathes Across America location coordinator.
Wreathes Across America is a national non-profit organization that started in 2007. It began at Arlington National Cemetery, then the tradition spread to more than 3,000 cemeteries across the nation. This is the event’s 12th year in New Bern.
Veteran Enforcers Motorcycle Association escorted the wreathes across the city on Thursday to give the wreathes the respect they deserve.
“Look around and you see all these tombstones all these people gave their life and paid the ultimate sacrifice and it’s a way we can honor and respect them forever,” said William Zerby, Veteran Enforcers Motorcycle Association member.
People also placed pennies at the tombstones to show the fallen soldiers’ families someone is paying their respects during the holiday season.
“It’s important for us all to remember the veterans that served us and gave their all for our country,” said Jack Olmstead, Vietnam veteran.
To sponsor a wreathe for next year, visit Wreaths Across America. If you want to sponsor a wreathe for a specific location, make sure to choose the location on the website.