CECIL TOWNSHIP (KDKA) – Western Pennsylvania is taking part in a nationwide event to pay tribute to veterans.

Hundreds of volunteers, students and family members gathered in Cecil Township this weekend for a holiday ceremony to honor the so many who have served our country.

On Saturday afternoon, more than 2,000 wreaths were placed at the graves of veterans at the National Cemetery of the Alleghenies.

“It’s something we should always remember, all the sacrifices that have been made,” said John Kenes, a retired United States Marine.

Pvt. Timothy Schmider was honored to place a wreath at the grave of Sgt. 1st Class Robert Fike of Trafford. He was killed in Afghanistan last June.

“I can’t even explain to you how much of an honor it is to me; it’s just amazing,” said Pvt. Schmider.

“My son would be just be so humbled to know how people are honoring him and the other young men and women that are here today,” said Fike’s father, Jim.

Many of the people placing wreaths were students. The Connellsville Area High School Patriots raised money to buy 621 wreaths to put at the grave sites.

“These kids prove to me and to our community daily that freedom matters. They’re going to make sure their children know what it’s like to live in a community where people are free,” said Linda Shearer, a teacher in the district.

One of the goals of the project is to get younger generations involved.

“I hope they go home and maybe dig out the history book or get on the computer and see what wars were about,” added Kenes.

The wreath ceremony ended with a final salute to those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

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