By Captain Joseph Esquivel, USARECJanuary 29, 2014
NEW BERLIN, Ill. (Jan 29, 2014) -- In an effort to pay tribute to and remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country, members of my company and I participated in the Wreath Across America Campaign in December.
First Sergeant Travis Evans, Sergeant First Class Robert Holmes, Staff Sergeant James Heskett, Staff Sergeant Michael Choate, Staff Sergeant Jeffrey Dubasik, Staff Sergeant Leighton Cline, Staff Sergeant Jeremy Stump and I, participated in a 21 gun salute during the "Wreaths Across America" ceremony held at the New Berlin Illinois Veteran's Memorial, in Dec.
Heskett who organized the undertaking said, "It was important for us to do this event because the Springfield Recruiting Company is a small part of the community in which we live, and we are trained and capable of performing this honorable function. When we volunteered to do it, members of the memorial board members and the community knew they were going to get well trained professionals capable of completing the tasks.
"I live in New Berlin and as a member of the New Berlin Veteran's Memorial Board of Directors, I was responsible for some of the important decisions that led to the construction and artwork for the obelisks that make up the memorial. I believe it is a source of pride and a labor of love to give recognition to those that have served their country and to those that gave the ultimate sacrifice."
The mission of Wreath's Across America is to remember and honor those who served and to teach our youth about the sacrafices made to protect the freedoms they enjoy every day. The event is carried out in part by coordinating wreath laying ceremonies on a specified Saturday in December at Arlington National Cemetery, as well as veterans' cemeteries and other locations in all 50 states and beyond.
In conjunction with the wreath laying, there is also a week of events including international veteran's tributes, ceremonies at State Houses and a week-long "Veteran's Parade" between Maine and Virginia where participants stop along the way to spread the message about the importance of remembering our fallen heroes, honoring those who serve, and teaching our children about the sacrifices made by veterans and their families to preserve our freedoms.
The design of the New Berlin Area Veterans Memorial is a combination of three submitted designs. A statue of an eagle landing with the U.S. flag flying behind it centered between black granite stones representing each of the branches of service. The stones have a laser etched image depicting the branch's contribution to freedom. At the center of the memorial are the veterans pavers with each paver honoring a Soldier.