Wreaths Across America celebrates service

Ursula McManus, Kathryn and Tom Zogorski place wreaths on veterans’ graves at Mottsville Cemetery on Saturday.

Ursula McManus, Kathryn and Tom Zogorski place wreaths on veterans’ graves at Mottsville Cemetery on Saturday.
Photo by Kurt Hildebrand.

Volunteers placed more than 600 wreaths on veterans’ gravesites across three Carson Valley cemeteries on Saturday as part of Wreaths across America.

“It is a wonderful community and it’s such a privilege and honor to pay tribute to the men and women who have served and for their sacrifices they have made for this country,” said Main Street Gardnerville Program Director Jen Nalder at the Garden Cemetery celebration.

“Remember, we are not here to decorate graves,” said Nadia Sandoval of Eastside Memorial Park. “We are here to remember not their deaths, but their lives. Each wreath is a gift of appreciation from a grateful American.”

The national event is about touching lives through education, scout, civic and religious groups across the country by teaching, remembering and honoring fallen veterans, those who serve and the value of freedom.

“Today more than ever we reflect on our nation’s veterans and active duty service members who have had and continue to fight to protect the innocent and oppressed,” said Sandoval. “Today we show a united front of gratitude and respect across the United States of America as we remember the fallen, honor those who serve and their families, and teach the next generation the value of freedom.”

On Saturday, wreaths were placed on each gravesite at each location where military veterans str laid to rest and the names of each veteran was said out loud in honor in remembrance.

Sponsored by Main Street Gardnerville, more than 200 wreaths were laid at Garden Cemetery.

More than 400 were laid at Eastside Memorial Park, which was sponsored by the Elks, who donated the wreaths and Harrah’s & Harvey’s Casino Lake Tahoe have continued to support the event year after year, said Sandoval.

“My family has made a lot of sacrifices and I’m proud of those sacrifices for our freedom and for their service,” said Eastside Memorial Park’s Keynote speaker Jeff Evans who is part of the Honor Flight of Nevada.

The retired Douglas High School athletic director said his father and uncle were among seven service members in his family buried in a Klamath Falls cemetery.

His father and uncle were killed in Vietnam and his brother served in Iraq after 9/11 and died from injuries received there after he returned home.

Eastside Memorial also dedicated a bench in monument of the fallen with the words, “As you rest, remember those brave, courageous, heroic and unknown soldiers who have fought in conflicts around the world; for our equality, justice, and freedom. We commemorate also those innocent and faceless men, women, and children lost at war.”

The bench was donated by Douglas County resident Arthur Solomon. He was unable to attend the ceremony but contributed remark Sandoval read on his behalf.

“In time immemorial millions of humble selfless warriors have made and continue to make to this very second the ultimate sacrifice to insure we remain free. These are not just names, every person was a universe, they will be etched in our hearts forever… The solemnity of Wreaths Across America beckons us to soulfully reflect upon our blessings and connect with each other… We have chosen, the profound seminal moment, to unveil our groundbreaking bench monument, to the fallen, it is, the creation of a coalition of the willing, concerned with the welfare, of all humankind. Entwined within our coalition you will find a vast repository of goodwill…I promise you, the unveiling here and now today of our bench monument to the fallen will make you proud. Our heartfelt gratitude to Eastside Memorial Park senior management Irene Shahin, Nadia Sandoval and the bench monument virtuso artianship of Randy Dorman for their vision and inspiration.”

Each cemetery had at least 100 people in attendance and volunteering to lay wreaths, including Josh Thomsen and his daughter Maizy at Garden Cemetery. Thomsen and Maizy placed wreaths for three family members of U.S. service.

“This year’s motto is find a way to serve, and as I look around here today, we are all doing that,” said former State Sen. James Settelmeyer, who was the keynote speaker at Garden Cemetery.

At Mottsville Cemetery, six volunteers tramped through snow to place wreaths on the graves of around 20 veterans buried there.

Tom and Ursula McManus, Tom and Kathryn Zogorski and Maureen and Greg Marenco said the name of each veteran before placing the wreath.

Ursula McManus said the wreaths were provided by Eastside.

Every December wreaths are laid at over 3,400 locations across all 50 U.S. States, at sea and abroad, according to www.wreathsacrossamerica.org.


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