GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas --
On a cloudy Saturday morning, volunteers from Goodfellow Air Force Base, Fort Concho and San Angelo Civil Air Patrol participated in the 11th annual Wreaths Across America Ceremony at Belvedere Memorial Park Dec. 16.
Wreaths Across America is a program that takes place in December to remember our fallen U.S. veterans, honor those who serve, and teach the value of freedom by coordinating wreath-laying ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery, with over 1,200 additional locations across the United States, at sea and abroad.
Attendees for the ceremony came to lay wreaths across all the veteran headstones at the park.
The service started at 11 a.m. to coincide with Arlington National Cemetery’s own ceremony. To begin there was a moment of silence to honor those who have gone before and given the ultimate sacrifice.
The ceremony was led by Dana Gray, Civil Air Patrol of San Angelo Composite Squadron public affairs officer. The song “I’m an American” written by Rick Charette was recited to remind all gathered of why they were there.
“America has always been the first nation to stand up for the freedom of people from around the world,” said Gray. “Many of you here today have answered that call and served your country well. We are here today to say ‘thank you’ and we are honored to know you.”
Cadets from the Texas Leadership Charter Academy Squadron passed symbolic wreaths to base leaders and active duty members to lay at the base of the flag in remembrance of everyone from each branch who has served, along with, a wreath for the prisoners of war, or missing in action who never got to come home.
“The POW wreath means a lot to me, those are the people who are not coming home,” said U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Matthew Watts, 17th Medical Support Squadron noncommissioned officer in charge of medical logistics. “Their friends and family wait until they realize that they are not coming home, so laying down the wreath helps get that closure.”
To conclude the ceremony Amazing Grace and TAPS were played, everyone was then able to take a wreath and place it at a headstone of their choosing.