THURMAN — A wet afternoon did nothing to deter visitors to the Tyn Rhos Cemetery Saturday who came to remember the service and sacrifices of passed veterans as part of a national memorial effort called Wreaths Across America.
The third Saturday of December, recognized as National Wreaths Across America Day, volunteers gather at Arlington National Cemetery and across the country in over 1,200 cemeteries to lay wreaths on the graves of veterans.
Patricia Filie said the Tyn Rhos Cemetery site for Gallia County was in its second year as part of the program. Youth from Simpson Chapel Church assisted with the program with VFW 4464 Honor Guard serving a salute and the playing of Taps. Member of the Gallia County Veterans Service Commission Keith Jeffers served as a guest speaker, along with Ron Wroblewski, president of the Tri-State Chapter 949 Vietnam Veterans.
Patrick Taylor introduced the program along with the history of Tyn Rhos Church and visiting speakers. Jenny Henchey and University of Rio Grande graduate student Dan Rowbotham sang musical pieces. Morgan Taylor read a poem titled Merry Christmas, My Friend, by Lance Corporal James Schmidt. A prayer was led by Ilo Dodson.
“My story begins in the early 1960s with a young newspaper boy by the name of Morrill Worcester,” said Jeffers. “Morrill was in a contest with other newspaper boys (across the country) to see who could obtain the most new customers and the possibility of winning a trip to Washington, D.C. This was very interesting to me because I was a young newspaper boy for the Gallipolis Daily Tribune and I had entered the same contest at the very same time. I won here in Gallipolis along with another newspaper boy, Marlo Bush…Unlike young Morrill, we did not get the opportunity to go to Washington, D.C. Morrill Worcester’s trip to Washington in the early 1960s planted a seed in the young boy’s mind when he visited Arlington National Cemetery and saw the thousands of veteran’s graves. The proverbial seed was embedded in his mind that wouldn’t develop until he became a man.”
Worcester had worked at a newspaper in Maine.
“The proverbial seed that was embedded in his mind became a real seed when he was a young man raising Christmas trees in mass production,” said Jeffers. “To make a long story short, in 1992, he had about 5,000 wreaths left over and he decided to contact Arlington National Cemetery as a place to possibly donate his wreaths. He coordinated with them and together they made a plan to use those wreaths on veterans’ graves. This was successful and they continued this practice for several years. About 15 or so years later, a newspaper reporter heard about Morrill Worcester’s generous donation and decided to publish an article about it. This was the beginning of National Wreaths Across America as we know it today.”
“The holiday season – the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas – is a very special time of year, time to give thanks, show love and enjoy peace,” continued Jeffers. “These veterans earned our thanks. They loved their family and their country. They fought for the peace of us and for the world…We may not know each one of them being honored here, today, but they earned our respect and gratitude.”
Dean Wright can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2103.