PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Saturday is “Wreaths Across America” day.
Volunteers,veterans groups and families gathered at the National Cemetery of the Alleghenies and other gravesites around the country, to pay a special holiday tribute to soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice.
After losing his father in the Iraq war, 9-year-old Tyler Cable of Connellsville came to the cemetery to honor other veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice.
“Because they served for us and are keeping us free,” Cable said.
Dozens of cemeteries across the country are holding ceremonies to remember the nation’s veterans during the holidays.
“I think they should come first because they’re out there protecting the country and people don’t appreciate that,” Ethel Kenes, the wife of a veteran said.
“Lying here before us and in cemeteries throughout this nation are men and women who gave their lives so that we can live in freedom without fear,” Marine veteran John Kenes said.
The ceremony started with an honor guard followed by remembrance wreaths honoring every branch of the military.
This is a special day for Donna Mitchell, she brought her daughter and grandchildren to her husband’s gravesite saying she wants them to respect what they have.
“That they have freedom and peace and god in their lives and it’s by United States of American soldiers like my husband, a deep sea diver that he was,” Mitchell said.
Pfc. Timothy Schmider went there to honor four members of his National Guard Military Police unit that lost their lives in the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, including Sgt. Robert Fike.
“They gave so much for their country they gave so much for the soldiers that are fighting now to even have the freedom to sign up for the military,” he said.
A few years ago, the wreath laying ceremony started out small with only 100 people laying wreaths at the soldiers’ gravesites.
Today more than 1,000 people laid wreaths at more than 5,000 gravesites.
The wreaths were all donated and placed at gravesites by volunteers and other veterans’ organizations all paying tribute to the nation’s fallen heroes.