Boy Scout Troop 64 is again looking for sponsors for wreaths to be placed on veterans' graves for the holidays.
The troop's efforts in this area started two years ago when the Scouts volunteered to place wreaths on graves at Indiantown Gap National Cemetery (IGNC) with Wreaths Across America, a national program that acknowledges deceased veterans during the December holiday season. The mission of Wreaths Across America is simple: remember, honor, and teach. The program aims to remember the veterans who served, honor their service and sacrifice by placing a wreath on their graves during the holiday season, and teach younger generations about the sacrifices that have been made.
The IGNC has more than 38,000 graves. During the wreath-laying ceremony two years ago, members of Troop 64 watched as volunteers read each veteran's name out loud, placed a wreath on his or her grave, and then saluted.
"Standing in the cemetery, realizing all the history and sacrifice that surrounded us, was overwhelming," recalled assistant scoutmaster Nina Evans. "After emptying all the boxes of wreaths, we noticed that some graves did not get a wreath. Wreaths are privately sponsored, meaning there are only as many wreaths as people sponsor."
Last year, Troop 64 made it a mission to find sponsors for 1,000 wreaths. While the final total was 741, that was several hundred more than expected.
"We were excited and humbled by the generosity of our community," Evans remarked. "But the cemetery was still about 8,000 wreaths short, meaning every grave was not honored with a wreath."
In order to ensure complete coverage, Boy Scout Troop 64 is again seeking wreath sponsors. Volunteers are also welcome to place wreaths during the ceremony that will be held at the cemetery on Saturday, Dec. 15, at noon.
To sponsor a wreath, readers may call Evans at 717-572-3448 or visit http://www.wreathsacrossamerica.org/pa0251p.
Boy Scout Troop 64 meets at Salem United Church of Christ, 2312 Marietta Ave., Lancaster, every Tuesday at 7 p.m. Boys ages 11 to 18 are welcome to visit or join the troop.