"Beauty and dignity" - TACOM at 2023 Wreaths Across America

By Adam Sikes, TACOM Public Affairs OfficeDecember 18, 2023

Brig. Gen. Michael Lalor, commanding general of U.S. Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command, reads the name of a Soldier off of a stone marker, with his son.
1 / 19 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Brig. Gen. Michael Lalor, commanding general of U.S. Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command, reads the name of a Soldier off of a stone marker, with his son. (Photo Credit: Adam Sikes) VIEW ORIGINAL
Karen Straffon, who organized the Clinton Township, Michigan Wreaths Across America event, speaks to a crowd of several hundred attendees.
2 / 19 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Karen Straffon, who organized the Clinton Township, Michigan Wreaths Across America event, speaks to a crowd of several hundred attendees. (Photo Credit: Adam Sikes) VIEW ORIGINAL
Michigan State Rep. Joe Aragona (MI-60) speaks as he recognizes Straffon for her work.
3 / 19 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Michigan State Rep. Joe Aragona (MI-60) speaks as he recognizes Straffon for her work. (Photo Credit: Adam Sikes) VIEW ORIGINAL
World War II reenactors stand as the ceremony continues.
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Clinton Township Supervisor Robert Cannon (second from right) speaks with attendees.
5 / 19 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Clinton Township Supervisor Robert Cannon (second from right) speaks with attendees. (Photo Credit: Adam Sikes) VIEW ORIGINAL
 Command Sgt. Maj. (Ret.) Randazzo carries a commemorative wreath to honor fallen Soldiers.
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A Sailor carries a commemorative wreath to honor fallen Sailors.
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A Marine carries a commemorative wreath to honor fallen Marines.
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A service member stands at the wreath-laying ceremony.
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A bugler plays "Taps" at the conclusion of the ceremony.
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A 21-gun salute is fired at the conclusion of the ceremony.
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Members of the local community walk past a set of commemorative, service-specific wreaths
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A row of service-specific wreaths, prior to the ceremony.
13 / 19 Show Caption + Hide Caption – A row of service-specific wreaths, prior to the ceremony. (Photo Credit: Adam Sikes) VIEW ORIGINAL
A participant holds an American flag prior to posting the colors for the event.
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TACOM Command Sgt. Maj. Kendra St Helen (right), Phil Rode, of U.S. Rep. John James' office (MI-10) (second from left); Lalor (second from right); and TACOM Chief of Staff Col. Kevin Polosky (right).
15 / 19 Show Caption + Hide Caption – TACOM Command Sgt. Maj. Kendra St Helen (right), Phil Rode, of U.S. Rep. John James' office (MI-10) (second from left); Lalor (second from right); and TACOM Chief of Staff Col. Kevin Polosky (right). (Photo Credit: Adam Sikes) VIEW ORIGINAL
A member of the local community waves some American flags.
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Lalor, TACOM Commanding General Aide-de-Camp Capt. Gabriella Spindler, and Polosky.
17 / 19 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Lalor, TACOM Commanding General Aide-de-Camp Capt. Gabriella Spindler, and Polosky. (Photo Credit: Adam Sikes) VIEW ORIGINAL
Lalor and his son walk through the Veterans' section of the cemetery after placing wreaths.
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Lalor walks by a row of Veteran graves.
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CLINTON TOWNSHIP, Mich. – Dec. 16, 2023 – Members of the armed service community gathered in Clinton Township, Michigan this weekend to join Americans around the country in honoring fallen servicemembers on the annual commemoration of Wreaths Across America day.

Representing U.S. Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command, Brig. Gen. Michael Lalor, commanding general of TACOM, spoke at the event, noting that “… what days like today are for is to remind us to spend a moment with those we’ve lost, in the spirit of this season of togetherness.”

The annual event drew a crowd of several hundred members of the local community, including several Veterans organizations, civil society groups and community leaders. The ceremony featured the recognition of living service members and the contributions they continue to make to their communities and other Veterans.

Lalor stated that “the contributions of our Veteran and Gold Star community are immense. We see examples of their work every day, including in events like this that honor the sacrifice that our fallen and our Survivor Families have made.”

The Wreaths Across America event saw several thousand wreaths distributed at the Resurrection Cemetery in the Detroit suburbs, with each wreath adorning a deceased service member’s grave. The point, as event organizer Karen Straffon said, was to preserve the memory of those lost, and to teach the new generation the meaning of their work.

“We want to make sure that these men and women do not die a second death – that their memory does not fade away with their passing,” said Straffon. “Seeing each of you here today helps make sure that they will not be forgotten. I hope that as you lay a wreath on a Veteran’s grave today, that you would take the time to be with them for a moment.”

Straffon’s comments were echoed by Lalor, who asked the audience to consider the meaning of the day.

“Today, we take the time to honor the fallen and celebrate those who, in life, continue to do honor to their legacy. As we lay these wreaths on their graves today, I hope that each of us will do just that,” said Lalor.

He added “These wreaths bring a certain beauty and dignity. But to truly honor these individuals is to spend a moment with them – to read their names and remember the friend, family member and neighbor that name represents. Let’s continue to make sure that these heroes are never forgotten – on this day and every day.”