Highlands honors fallen veterans in wreath-laying ceremony

255 wreaths were laid at the graves of veterans in Highlands Cemetery on Dec. 16 by those honoring their sacrifice through the solemn gesture. Highlands Wreaths Across America partnered with Highlands American Legion Post 370 and had the support of Highlands Boy Scout Troop 207 and the Rotary Club of Highlands to honor local veterans. Another 500 wreaths will be laid at other cemeteries throughout the area with the same objective.

Mike Murphy takes a moment after placing a wreath at a gravestone to honor a veteran buried in Highlands Cemetery on Dec., 16 as part of Wreaths Across America.

“To honor our local veterans,” said Phil Potts, the Location Coordinator at Highlands Cemetery as to why he and others show up on a chilly Sunday morning. “The mission of WAA is to remember the fallen, honor all those that have served and teach younger generations the value of freedom.”

The event was originally scheduled for Dec. 15, but organizers rescheduled due to inclement weather.

“Due the steep hills and snow cover on Saturday, it was unsafe for volunteers to lay the wreaths,” said Potts. But added that he was happy with the turnout of those who showed up to pay tribute on the alternative date.

Members of Highlands Boy Scout Troop 207 raised the flag before the wreaths were laid.

“We have gotten tremendous support from the community,” he said. “They have attended our fundraisers, sponsored wreaths and volunteered to lay wreaths! I just want to thank everyone who sponsored wreaths, attended our fundraisers, volunteered at fundraisers and helped lay the wreaths. We hope to keep doing this for many years to come.”

Flags marked the location of veterans’ graves and after wreaths were placed those flags needed to be collected by energetic volunteers.

This is the second year Highlands has participated in WAA. Highlands organizations first participated in WAA in Arlington, Va., in 2016. WAA was founded by Worcester Wreath Company in Maine, which is where the wreaths came from.

Article and photos by Brian O’Shea
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