FORT DRUM, N.Y. (Dec. 19, 2022) -- Dozens of Fort Drum Scouts and family members placed fresh balsam wreaths at the foot of the Military Mountaineers Monument to honor America’s fallen veterans during a ceremony Dec. 17 in Memorial Park.
They joined thousands of volunteers who did the same at cemeteries and memorials throughout the country and abroad in support of National Wreaths Across America Day.
“Today, we show a united front of gratitude and respect across the United States of America as we remember the fallen, honor those who serve and their families, and teach the next generation the value of freedom,” said Jamie Kieffer, event narrator.
The wreaths placed in front of the monument paid tribute to each branch of the armed forces, as well as prisoners of war (POWs), Gold Star families and first responders. More wreaths were placed at the granite pedestals along Heroes Walk, which commemorates the military operations that 10th Mountain Division (LI) Soldiers participated in since 1994.
Representatives from Girl Scouts Service Unit 512, Boy Scouts Troop 26 and Cub Scouts Pack 26 served as wreath bearers and color guard during the ceremony.
“This was special because we could honor people who protect us and who helped us get to this moment,” said Joseph Kieffer, Cub Scouts Pack 26 member.
“Wreaths Across America is completely voluntary, and we do this every year to teach youths how we should always honor our veterans,” said Jessica Beck, Fort Drum Girl Scouts Service Unit 512 manager. “The ceremony shows them how we can do this is a respectful way.”
More than 50 wreaths were sponsored at Fort Drum through Wreaths Across America, and Beck said that they would like to increase that number to include the veterans’ graves located in the Fort Drum cemeteries.
Her daughter, MaryAnn, was among the Scouts who participated in the wreath-laying ceremony.
“Thinking about the people who died and the things that have happened in the military, it kind of made me sad,” she said. “But I’m really happy that we are honoring them.”
At the same time, other volunteers from Fort Drum and across the North Country attended the annual Wreaths for Veterans ceremony in the Sackets Harbor Military Cemetery, where more than 500 wreaths were placed on the tombstones of veterans.
More photos from the event at Memorial Park are available at www.flickr.com/photos/drum10thmountain/albums/72177720304581148.