Rita Howell column 12-11-12

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Wreaths will remind us of veterans’ service

Saturday will bring the culmination of a project begun several months ago by Pam Couser and Mary Presley as a tribute to local deceased veterans. Through an organization called Wreaths Across America volunteers will place 225 fresh green Christmas wreaths on the graves of veterans buried in Batesville Magnolia Cemetary.

Pam is the mother (and Mary the grandmother) of Brandon Presley, a young Marine killed in Iraq in 2005. Brandon is buried in the Batesville cemetery.

His mother learned about the Wreaths Across America non-profit group which transports live Christmas wreaths from Maine all over the country to decorate the graves of veterans.

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Pam and Mary started in October raising funds for the project. Each wreath costs $15.  

They relied on a survey of the cemetery by Boy Scouts to determine the number of veterans buried there. The Scouts had placed small American flags on the graves of veterans last year for Memorial Day. Most of those graves have special markers provided by the Veterans Administration.

By the deadline for ordering the wreaths, Pam and Mary had the funds.

The wreaths should arrive in Batesville Saturday.

A special ceremony is planned at Batesville’s Downtown Memorial Park Saturday at 11 a.m. Similar ceremonies will be taking place at that same hour at Arlington National Cemetery and all over the country in communities participating in Wreaths Across America.

The ceremony will include the laying of wreaths at the Downtown War Memorial to represent veterans from each branch of the Armed Forces and POW’s.

Afterward, volunteers will move to Batesville Magnolia Cemetery to begin placing the wreaths.

For the holiday season, the green wreaths with red bows will be a reminder to those who pass by of the service and sacrifice of the veterans who now rest there.