U.S.A.G. Fort Devens Public Affairs
December 18, 2021
Devens, Massachusetts – U.S. Army Garrison Fort Devens, local businesses, and the surrounding community worked hard to do their part to contribute and participate in the 10th annual Wreaths Across America event. Military personnel from all branches of service and local community members joined Fort Devens leadership for a special ceremony to honor fallen veterans. This year, volunteers laid over 400 wreaths on veterans' graves throughout the cemetery.
Wreaths Across America began in Arlington National Cemetery in 2007 and is now celebrated at over 2,700 locations across the United States, at sea and abroad. Throughout the year, local volunteers tirelessly worked to ensure families, loved ones, and heroes were remembered during the holidays on National Wreaths Across America Day. The Wreaths Across America organization coordinates this annual event so all 2,700 locations can conduct their ceremony on the same day.
Joseph Cunningham, who served as the ceremony's narrator, welcomed distinguished guests, military and civilian partners. Bristol Myers Squibb Veteran Community Network, District 15 of the Massachusetts Veterans of Foreign Wars, Knights of Columbus Councils 14842 and 3503, the Hanscom Composite Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol and the Cumberland Farms Military Affiliation Group.
"Today, at more than twenty-seven hundred locations across all 50 states, at sea and abroad, we gather as a nation to Remember, Honor and Teach," said Joseph Cunningham, "Our Nation stands as a shining beacon of liberty and freedom to the world. We thank those who gave their lives to keep us free, and we shall not forget you. We shall remember."
CPT Jin Lee, Chaplin of the 826th Military Intelligence Battalion, gave the Invocation. He thanked God for the opportunity to gather together and remember our heroes, soldiers, brothers and sisters who gave the ultimate sacrifice.
Representatives from each military branch, MSG Paloma Rodgers from the Army Reserve Element, Corporal Daniel Simpson from the Marines, Airman Jennifer Martinez from the Navy, SSgt Garielle Curtis from the Air Force, 1LT Jacob Connors from the Space Command and Petty Officer Brian Ayala from the Coast Guard, laid a wreath at the foot of their branch flag in honor of those who served and are currently serving in that branch.
Mr. Paul Martin, from the Veterans of Foreign Wars, laid a wreath in honor of the eighty-two thousand, one hundred and seventy United States Service members from all service branches whose last known status was either Prisoner-of-War or Missing-In-Action. These individuals have never returned to their families and homes.
All Veterans buried here are beautifully remembered and honored today thanks to you, said Lt. Colonel Trent Colestock, Garrison Commander, as he addressed the audience. "It is incumbent upon all of us to recognize and honor the selfless service from those that have served and are no longer physically with us. To remember their commitment to our nation with heart-filled gratitude and to encourage others to do the same," said Lt. Colonel Colestock.
To ensure each veteran is always remembered, volunteers were asked to say aloud the name on the headstone after a wreath was laid. Speaking each veteran's name keeps their memory alive and lets their families know we will not forget their service, sacrifice and commitment.
For more information on sponsoring a wreath for the 2022 Wreaths Across America, please visit https://www.wreathsacrossamerica.org.
U.S. Army Garrison Fort Devens provides premier training capabilities and base operations support to the Total Force in New England.