THURMAN — Volunteer Patricial Filie was not deterred by the coronavirus pandemic in her efforts to bring Wreaths Across America to Tyn Rhos Cemetery for its fourth year.
While many services around the country were canceled, Filie and other volunteers managed to lay 66 wreaths on veterans graves during last Saturday’s ceremony.
Services were held inside the First Church of the Southern Ohio Welsh Pioneers adjacent to the cemetery. COVID-19 safety practices were followed, including leaving the church door open to the cold and rainy elements of the day.
“The crowd of volunteers and observers was smaller than usual,” Filie said. “But there was still a good turnout and we managed to place all the wreaths. Our volunteers are awesome.”
The wreaths hold a special significance at Christmas, often marking the graves of veterans who served early in United States history and may have otherwise gone unremembered.
Wreaths Across America, in association with the Wounded Warrior Project, places wreaths in cemeteries in the United States and abroad in an effort to honor their comrades in all branches of the US Armed Forces.
Marine veteran Dan Miller spoke during the services and stressed the importance of remembering the names of those who have served.
“No one is ever truly forgotten until their name is not spoken,” Miller said. “By recognizing veterans with Wreaths Across America we keep them alive in the spirit of America. We all wear the same ‘cloth’ of freedom no matter when or where we served-it doesn’t matter the time frame, we do it to protect the rights and freedoms of everyone. It is so important to remember this.”
Miller joined the Wounded Warrior Project in 2014, and became a Warriors Speak Team member in 2016. The group consists of seven members, four veterans and three veteran caregivers who travel around the country telling their stories in an effort to help others in their journey to find a new normal and a path to recovery.
Information on how to participate in Wreaths Across America can be found at www.wounded warrior project.org.
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Lorna Hart is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing.