Volunteers honor fallen veterans across America with “Wreaths Across America”

Published: Dec. 18, 2021 at 11:49 PM EST
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JACKSON, Mich. (WILX) - Hundreds of volunteers made their way into the St. Johns Catholic Cemetery to lay more than 1,000 wreaths for this year’s Wreaths Across America. The campaign which started 30 years ago has become one of Jackson’s most beloved holiday traditions

“It’s about taking time out in the middle of the holiday season as we prepare for Christmas to thank our veterans, their families, the people who are serving now, and those who made the ultimate sacrifice to thank them and let them know that we remember them we honor them and that we’re here to most importantly thank them for their service,” said Jenny Mietelka with St. Johns Cemetery.

This particular cemetery is home to more than 2,300 fallen service members making it the cemetery with the most veterans in Jackson.

“Jackson has always been supportive of their veterans and events like this show us when they come out to support,” said Mietelka.

Volunteers, including the boy scouts and girl scouts, were asked to say each service member’s name when decorating each headstone to remember and thank each sacrifice made. But for those who have served, it means a little more than thank you. William McMurray, a veteran from the Richard F. Smith post in Jackson says that it’s events like this one where he is thankful to be back home for the holidays when so many serving can’t be.

“This is not a commemoration of their death. It’s a celebration of their life and service. That’s extremely moving to me but every one of these guys resting for eternity out here in this pasture field is what I consider a brother,” said a Veteran from the Richard F. Smith Post in Jackson William McMurray.

“When I was active service as an 18-year-old boy 17,000 miles from home for Christmas...made me very sad,” said McMurray.

He says it’s events like today that made him feel appreciated and allow him to say thank you.

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