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Wreaths Across America: SJ honors fallen

  • Published
  • By Airman Shawna L. Keyes
  • 4th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Airmen from Team Seymour participated in an annual wreath laying ceremony for Wreaths Across America Day at Evergreen Memorial Cemetery, Princeton, North Carolina, Dec. 17.

Wreaths Across America’s history began 25 years ago as a simple gesture by Morrill Worcester, a wreath-maker from Maine, who donated 5,000 wreaths as a gift of thanks for the service and sacrifice made by military members. Over the years, it has grown to more than 1.2 million wreaths being donated annually to support about 1,200 cemeteries worldwide.

Active duty and retired service members from the Fallen Saints and Patriot Guard Riders motorcycle clubs escorted the wreaths to Evergreen Memorial. 

“Wreaths Across America is something that our club supports and the motorcycle community supports all over the place,” said Master Sgt. Benjamin Ackerman, 4th Contracting Squadron contracting officer and member of the Fallen Saints motorcycle club. “Anywhere around the nation that these ceremonies are being held, a motorcycle escort of the wreaths is part of that. It’s our way of honoring that sacrifice and showing the families that are here that we support them, that we care about them, and that we honor their sacrifice as well.”   

More than 250 people attended the ceremony and volunteers from the base and local community laid about 500 wreaths throughout the hallowed grounds.  

“I think it’s incredibly important to participate in events like the Wreaths Across America ceremony because it allows us to give back and to remember those that have gone before us,” said Senior Airman Kevin Salsbury, 4th Security Forces Squadron military working dog handler. “My grandfather is a Vietnam-era veteran and one of my biggest role models and growing up he made sure to pass on the importance of remembering the sacrifice and lives of those that have gone before us.”

Salsbury added being part of the ceremony was an incredible honor.

“I was able to give back in a small way to the veteran community, which pales in comparison to the things they have done for us and this nation.”

Col. Christopher Sage, 4th Fighter Wing commander, attended the ceremony and gave closing comments.

“It was such an honor to be here today and thanks to all the volunteers who laid these wreaths,” said Sage. “Without your selflessness and time today we would not be able to keep the memory of these warriors alive. Thank you so much from Seymour Johnson Air Force Base.”