Wreaths Across America held a ceremony last Saturday at Ivy Green Cemetery in Bremerton, remembering and honoring those who served by laying wreaths on the graves of veterans.
A brisk December morning didn’t deter folks from coming out for a good cause and taking part in an annual holiday event that is held across the country. Those in attendance included Bremerton Mayor Greg Wheeler, Bremerton City Councilmember Richard Huddy, Puget Sound Naval Shipyard Commanding Officer Capt. Dianna Wolfson, and 103-year-old World War II veteran Lt. Col. Vern Frykolm.
The ceremony commenced at 8:45 a.m., starting with welcome greetings, followed by the attention to colors, the national anthem, and pledge of allegiance. Chaplain Lt. Ryan C. Smith of Naval Base Kitsap provided the invocation before WAA Coordinator Mick Hersey made some brief remarks. The ceremonial presentation of wreaths to the Tomb of the Unknowns was then conducted.
Wolfson served as the keynote speaker. A rifle volley honor ceremony and the playing of taps concluded the order of events.
Lastly, community members placed wreaths on all veterans’ graves in the cemetery. Ivy Green Cemetery is the final resting place for over 500 veterans.
“All veterans deserve our gratitude no matter their length of service or the period for which they served,” Wolfson said. “Today we give special remembrance to those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our country. I feel this is especially relevant in light of recent tragedies at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii and in Pensacola in Florida.”
“We also give thanks to the families of those who served our nation,” Wolfson went on to say. “Military families provide the support, love, and nurturing our service members need even while their loved one spends long stretches of time away from home and in harm’s way. Our military could not accomplish its mission without your support.”
Wolfson also addressed family members who have experienced tragedy with the passing of a loved one while serving.
“You have our profound thanks to their sacrifice and for your sacrifice on behalf of a grateful nation. While this sacrifice can never be repaid, it is my hope that you know that today and every day, our nation is thinking of you and you are forever in our hearts.”
“Today, as we join tens of thousands of people who are honoring these heroes, I encourage you to remember our fallen U.S. veterans, to honor those who serve, and to teach your children the value of freedom. Together as a community, we show our veterans and their families that we will not forget. We will never forget.”