Volunteers to lay wreaths on veterans’ graves

Four-year-old Zachary Goodinbour helps gather wreaths from grave sites at the Jefferson City National Cemetery on East McCarty Street in 2012. Nearly 1,600 wreaths will be placed on veterans’ graves on Saturday for the fourth annual Wreaths for Heroes program.

Four-year-old Zachary Goodinbour helps gather wreaths from grave sites at the Jefferson City National Cemetery on East McCarty Street in 2012. Nearly 1,600 wreaths will be placed on veterans’ graves on Saturday for the fourth annual Wreaths for Heroes program.

Community members and leaders will lay nearly 1,600 wreaths on veterans’ graves in the Jefferson City National Cemetery at 9 a.m. Saturday as part of the fourth annual Wreaths for Heroes program.

“It’s to honor the veterans whose loved ones had no idea where they’re buried,” said Lorraine Adkins, founder and organizer of the local Wreaths for Heroes.

She said volunteers will lay 1,587 artificial wreaths on graves. There will be a short program that includes the Sons of the American Revolution and a Trinity Lutheran Church chorale group.

Adkins and her husband, Pete, started the Wreaths for Heroes program in Jefferson City four years ago after witnessing a wreath ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.

“Pete was in World War II,” Adkins said. “My first thought was that we should do something (in Jefferson City). I thought someone had to do something, because some of the veterans had never had something on their graves.”

Adkins is inviting the public to attend the 9 a.m. ceremony and to help lay the wreaths. She said a caravan to the cemetery will start at 8:45 a.m. at Busch’s Florist, 620 Madison St., and travel to the cemetery, 1024 E. McCarty St.

In addition to Wreaths for Heroes, Hawthorn Memorial Gardens is hosting a Wreaths Across America ceremony at 11 a.m. Saturday at 4205 Horner Road.

Patty Champlain, office manager at the gardens, said the event is held in conjunction with a similar event at noon Eastern time at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.

She said this is the second year the gardens is hosting the event, and nearly 120 wreaths have already been sold.

The public is invited to attend.

Clarification: This news story may suggest that wreaths had never been placed on veteran’s graves in Jefferson City cemeteries before Wreaths for Heroes. In the 1920s and ’30s, a group of volunteers decorated the graves of area servicemen.

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