NEW BERN, N.C. (WNCT) — Today hundreds of people in New Bern remembered those who paid the ultimate sacrifice by laying wreaths on their tombstones.
“Wreaths across America” is a national organization working to put wreaths on every veteran’s grave during the holiday season.
“Thank you for your service.”
These were the words spoken as volunteers came, kneeled and laid down a wreath on almost every headstone in the New Bern national cemetery.
“For the veterans who have paid the price,” said New Bern National Cemetery’s “Reach Across America” coordinator, Ken Dimpsey. “For you to have freedom, for me to have freedom. And we’re going to do a small token for them, something to give them – a wreath, a live balsam wreath from Columbia Falls, Maine.”
5738 wreaths were bought and donated – a new record compared to the 819 purchased last year.
And hundreds of people from around the community, including the Marines, Navy, Airforce, Army, and Coast Guard made it possible.
“We can choose to fail, we can chose to succeed,” said base sergeant major of the Marine Corps, Paul MceLearney. “But we have freedom – because of all the people in this cemetery and the cemeteries across the nation.”
“They will not be forgotten, not even on Christmas,” said Congressman, Walter B. Jones.
Old and young, those who have served and haven’t served, all of them showed up here today, even one man who traveled here from Virginia.
“Its one thing to know about the battles,” said Ross Schwalm, president of Johannes Schwalm Historical Association. “But it’s a whole another thing to remember the people involved and telling their stories.”
Near and far, everyone was here to take the time to honor those who protected and defended our freedom.
“I like it so much, because I love my family,” said troop 447 boy scout, Bray Denadaos. “And I don’t want to lose them.”
“We are very proud of those who have served and are serving now,” said Navy veteran, Roxana MceLearney.
“Veterans are very important,” said Ray Derr, former coordinator. “And it’s very important for the community to be aware of the fallen heroes that are here in the cemetery.”
“May god bless the United States of America,” said New Bern Mayor Dana Outlaw.