More than a thousand pay their respects at the North Dakota Veterans Cemetery

Published: Dec. 14, 2019 at 5:17 PM CST
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In 1992, a Harrington, Maine man found himself with a surplus of wreaths during the holiday season and decided to place them at the headstones of fallen soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery.

Now, more than 13 years later, since Wreaths Across America formed, North Dakotan's have paid their respects to the fallen.

On the second Saturday in December, volunteers from across the state paid their respects at the North Dakota Veterans Cemetery.

More than 1,200 volunteers worked to make sure each soldier received a wreath FOR the holidays. For some, it was to honor family.

"My dad served and so that's really the reason, you know, it's just a personal thing," said Bismarck resident, Kevin Reisenauer.

While others say, for many graves, this might be the only visit they get all year.

"Those that have given of themselves, willing to give up that ultimate sacrifice. So it's really a heart warming to come out and do this. So I brought up whole family out here to take part in this experience," said Paul Harron, of the North Dakota National Guard.

The North Dakota Veterans Cemetery was one of the original 150 locations selected for the first official Wreaths Across America in 2007. Those warm hearts walked through the sub-zero temperatures to continue the tradition.

"It really shows the patriotism of North Dakotan's, their willingness, like you said brave the temperatures, although we're used to it," said Harron.

Event organizers say because of the amount of volunteers that were here, each of the more than 6,000 headstones received a wreath, it just about 20 minutes.

More than 1,600 cemeteries across the nation place wreaths at the same time to honor fallen warriors. Event coordinators told Your News Leader, the Veterans Cemetery surpassed this years wreath sponsorship by almost 700.

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