A group of townspeople gathered at the City Green on Saturday, Dec. 18 to lay a wreath at the base of the Veterans Memorial in Center Park.
Gray clouds and intermittent sleet on Saturday morning did nothing to deter those wishing to honor the city’s veterans by participating in the National Crowns Across America Day, which is observed annually in mid-December.
For yearsthe city has organized place crowns honoring the sacrifices of veterans at various locations in Wareham.
For the fourth consecutive year, the Garden Club created the wreaths.
“The Garden Club loves doing a whole variety of crafts involving live greens,” said Garden Club member Joyce Holster, who is a veteran herself. “We have a bunch that we put around town, and this is the one we put at the Veterans Memorial in Center Park.”
The wreath was decorated with red, white and blue ribbons as well as a yellow ribbon and a red poppy, which traditionally symbolize the sacrifice of those who served in the First World War.
“I love that Bob put those poppies on,” Holster said.
Alongside Holster, Bob Powilatis, commander of the American Legion Post 220, and Teddy Hatch of the Wareham Elks participated in the ceremony, and Angela Dunham, president of the Wareham Historical Society, also attended, as did a few others.
Hatch spoke a few words during the brief wreath laying ceremony.
“One of the founding principles of our order is ‘as long as there are veterans, we will never forget them,’ and that being said, we are here to honor them all,” he said.
He noted that the Wreaths Across America tradition began in 1992 and encouraged people to visit www.wreathsacrossamerica.org to learn more.
“As we all navigate this world of what we call a ‘new normal,’ no matter what, we must always remember all veterans,” Hatch stressed.
He also pointed out that the wreaths placed across the country on Dec. 18 were designed specifically to honor veterans, rather than to celebrate the holiday season.
“The wreaths originally consisting of 10 balsam branches tied with a red velvet bow were titled ‘Veterans Wreaths,’ not Christmas wreaths,” Hatch said. “We don’t decorate graves, we honor our heroes.”
In addition to the wreath laid at the foot of the town’s green monument, the group also planned to bring a wreath to Bourne National Cemetery, to be laid in front of the Circle of Heroes monument.
Powilatis thanked Holster, Sandy Slavin and the rest of the Garden Club, the Dunhams, Wareham Elks, American Legion, Veterans Council and Friends of Wareham Veterans Council for their continued support.
Joyelle and Chad Tilton, who saw the event advertised on Facebook, thanked the group for allowing them to be part of the ceremony. Tilton’s son, Colby, is in the military and is currently based at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.