|Lt. Col. Russell Sears places a wreath on the grave of Pvt. William J. Coldren, World War II veteran, U.S. Army Engineer Company. (USACE photo–Kristin Hoelen)
WINCHESTER, Va. - Lt. Col. Russell Sears, Deputy Commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Middle East District, participated in the 20th annual Wreaths Across America event Dec. 10.
The ceremony, conducted simultaneously at more than 600 veterans’ cemeteries across the nation, started at noon. More than 250 wreaths were placed on grave markers in the Winchester National Cemetery.
Sears placed the Army Service Wreath on the grave of an engineer veteran from World War II. Wreaths were also placed for the service members from the Marines, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard.
Cadets from the Winchester and Martinsburg Squadrons of the Civil Air Patrol, local Girl and Boy Scouts, and Massanutten Military Academy members also placed wreaths.
“It was touching to see the level of respect shown by the young cadets from the Civil Air Patrol,” said Sears. “It’s easy for those who have served to understand the significance of recognizing those who gave the last full measure of devotion, but the honor paid by these young teens was quite uncommon. I was glad to be part of this ceremony.”
Wreaths Across America began in Harrington, Maine in 1992, when the Worcester Wreath Company traveled to Arlington National Cemetery with a surplus of wreaths to be placed on grave sites and on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. It has since grown to be a nationwide event.