MINOT, N.D. - The holidays are a joyful time of the year, but they can also be a bitter reminder for the families of those who have given their lives for our country.
Minot is one of hundreds of communities across the U.S. that are part of a growing movement to honor fallen heroes with a Christmas wreath on their grave. A few days before Christmas, Minot will once again come together to honor those who never returned from the battlefield.
As part of Wreaths Across America, volunteers will lay wreaths at the graves of hundreds of fallen heroes at Rosehill Cemetery and other locations in the Magic City.
“The whole mission of Wreaths Across America is to remember our fallen heroes and then to honor those who served and then to teach our children the value of freedom,” said Richard Reuer, Event Coordinator/Fundraising Chairman.
Residents and businesses can sponsor a $15 wreath.
The Minot Area Community Foundation did its part Friday, donating enough money to sponsor 100 wreaths, bringing the effort close to the goal.
“People don't realize how many veterans we have that are local. To be able to go to the ceremony and see all of the wreaths in the cemetery. It's beautiful, it's breathtaking. People kind of cry a little bit when they go to it,” said Staci Kenney, Minot Area Community Foundation.
Minot residents can pick up applications to sponsor a wreath at several floral shops throughout town.
Reuer said the community has embraced Wreaths Across America, and the numbers show it.
“The first year, they came in a U-Haul truck. There wasn't that many boxes. And then this last year there was so many boxes that they came on a semi-truck, and the semi-truck couldn't come into the cemetery because there wasn't a wide enough turn to come into the gate,” Reuer said.
Any sponsored wreaths that exceed the goal will be sent to the North Dakota Veterans Cemetery in Mandan or to the cemeteries in Fargo and Fort Totten. Beyond that, they head to Arlington National Cemetery in Washington.
The wreath-laying ceremony will take place Saturday, December 17, at the cemetery at 11 a.m.
You can drop off the application at the Rosehill Cemetery office now through next Tuesday, Nov. 22.
The following florists in Minot have applications:
Petals & Bloom (Minot Air Force Base)
Lowe’s Floral & Garden Center
You can learn more about the nationwide movement by logging on to: www.wreathsacrossamerica.org.