KING CITY, Calif. - The Veterans of Foreign Wars Auxiliary organized King City's first National Wreaths across America Day at the King City Cemetery honoring our Veterans, on Dec. 17, 2016. Fort Hunter Liggett provided the keynote speaker and a chaplain for the invocation. The ceremony started simultaneously with 1,100 additional ceremonies, nationwide and abroad.

The intent of the Wreaths Across America ceremony (WAA) is to remember, honor and teach people about Veterans' contributions to society. Fort Hunter Liggett Chaplain, Maj. Vaughn Benner started the event with an invocation. "These names are precious, precious to the families and loved ones, to the people they served and to the God who made them."

Fort Hunter Liggett Garrison Commander, Col. Jan C. Norris, spoke on Veterans' sacrifices and the importance of their service to the nation. "Participating in this event highlights the importance of the small town America in supporting our nation's values, especially our freedom. Working with the Scouts give the opportunity to reinforce these values in our communities."

After the ceremony, volunteers helped with the wreath laying. This year's theme was "say their name." According to the Wreaths Across America website, "A person dies twice: once when they take their final breath, and later, the last time their name is spoken."

Volunteers were asked to say the name of the Veteran and thank them for their service after laying the wreath. Wreaths were laid by the local Boy Scouts, Girls Scouts, 4-H Club, and individual volunteers. A few people took the time to share the stories of the Veterans in their family or that they had known as well as saying their name.

After seeing pictures of a past WAA event at the Arlington National Cemetery, King City VFW Auxiliary member Sue Miller was motivated to start the program in King City. "I felt it would be a good way to honor the fallen Veterans. It is a way to bring them home for the holidays."

Miller worked with local community groups and individuals to raise the funds necessary to make the event a success. The Auxiliary's goal next year is to get a wreath for all Veterans in the cemetery.

For more information on participating in next year's events contact VFWAuxiliary.org or WreathsAcrossAmerica.org.