At noon on Saturday, Dec. 16, 75,000 volunteers arrived at Arlington National Cemetery to lay a live wreath each of the 246,700 veteran internments.
Simultaneously, members of Cambria American Legion Post 432 were conducting similar services at four local cemeteries: the Cambria District Cemetery, Santa Rosa Chapel Cemetery, Morro Bay-Cayucos District Cemetery and Los Osos Memorial Park.
This year, Wreaths Across America dispatched nearly 500 trucks from Harrington Maine, to deliver 1,575,000 wreaths to 1,422 national and private cemeteries across the nation, fulfilling its motto of “Remember, Honor, and Teach.”
Cambria citizens, with the help of one anonymous donor, pledged to place a wreath at each of the 433 veteran internments at Cambria’s two community cemeteries. Retired U.S. Army Col. Maureen Robles-Wilson led a short service at Cambria District Cemetery.
John Angel opened the service with an invocation. Robles-Wilson then explained that within the cemetery there are threee Mexican-American War, nine Civil War, eight Spanish-American War, 63 World War I, 31 Korean War, and 27 Vietnam War veterans.
The largest contingent of veterans identified with a war era at Cambria Cemetery are the 192 veterans (58 percent) who served during World War II. Resident Gary Boyle spoke about the work of the programs regarding MIA/POW veterans. Alan Doctor concluded the service with the playing of taps.
Thanks to volunteers from the community, all 392 wreaths were in place within 45 minutes. Jerry Bodine led a group of volunteers in laying wreaths at the graves of the 41 veterans interred at Santa Rosa Cemetery.
Cambria Cemetery Manager Tim Burres has provided continued support in paying respects to the nation’s fallen heroes, and Chuck McMillen hauled multiple pallets of wreaths from Cambria Hardware to the cemetery. Post 432 Legionnaire John Gajdos oversaw the laying of wreaths at the Morro Bay-Cayucos Cemetery and the Los Osos Memorial Park.
Next year’s ceremony is scheduled for 9 a.m., Saturday, Dec. 15.
Contact Col. Maureen Robles-Wilson at 805-203-5294 to be a part of the 2018 program or to reserve a wreath for the ceremony.