MIDDLEBURG – Friends and family of the U.S. military gathered at the Hardage-Giddens Holly Hill Memorial Park to honor fallen American veterans and participate in the Wreaths Across America …
MIDDLEBURG – Friends and family of the U.S. military gathered at the Hardage-Giddens Holly Hill Memorial Park to honor fallen American veterans and participate in the Wreaths Across America ceremony on Saturday, Dec. 19.
Led by U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class (retired) Jimmy Arthur, the observance featured a color guard, veterans representing each military branch to lay a commemorative wreath, and guest speaker, Clay County Manager and retired U.S. Navy Capt. Howard Wanamaker.
“It’s personal to me because I feel like, as far as our veterans go in our local locations, the veteran’s cemetery, the national ceremony, they get those honors and rites,” Arthur said.
Also participating was Gary Newman, a Navy veteran and vice-president of the Florida State Council of Vietnam Veterans of America.
Following the laying and saluting of the wreaths by the different veterans, Wanamaker spoke, thanking those in attendance, and those veterans no longer with us. He spoke of the sacrifice many have made to assure that Americans can enjoy the freedoms promised to them.
“For Wreaths Across America, the motto ‘Remember, Honor and Teach,’ is so extremely important to this day as we’re in the holiday season and people are in the hustle and bustle of Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s,” said Wanamaker. “It’s good to take a pause and remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice [some of them], and that are sacrificing daily for our freedoms in our country.”
At the conclusion of the brief remarks and the official ceremony, visitors walked the cemetery grounds on their own and place wreaths on the tombs of the deceased soldiers.