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Wreaths Across America to honor veterans’ enduring spirit

by Taylor Nye

Wreaths Across America will deploy across Hopkins County on the morning of December 18, according to organizer Dena Lloyd Philips. 

Participating cemeteries are:

  • Sulphur Springs City
  • Black Oak
  • Gafford Chapel
  • Shooks Chapel
  • Pickton
  • Winterfield
  • Weaver
  • Greenview
  • Union

The event begins promptly at 11 a.m. with a short ceremony honoring veterans of the respective communities, followed by wreath-laying.  

The theme of the 2021 event is “Live Up to Their Legacy.” Those who would like to place wreaths on graves can contact Philips at dl1156@yahoo.com, or show up the day of the event. 

Those who wish to donate can visit https://wreathsacrossamerica.org/pages/155836. Each wreath for a veteran’s grave costs $15. Donations can be made in the name of a loved one. 

Those who wish to volunteer should also contact dl1156@yahoo.com.

All veterans and families of veterans are welcome. Hopkins represents 9 of over 3,000 cemeteries across the US who participate in this tradition. 

In 2020, more than 1000 wreaths adorned the graves of Hopkins County veterans who served in all branches of the US military. In 2021, the group hopes to expand the number to over 1,200, according to their website. 

According to Wreaths Across America, the properties of the wreath symbolize the American veteran– evergreens for endurance, a red ribbon for sacrifice, and the circle shape to symbolize the eternal nature of their service.

Pictured: Hopkins County Sheriff’s Office Detective Michael Russell, a veteran himself, and his son Clifton, place a wreath on the grave of Gary Gibson, a Navy medic who served in Vietnam at Gafford Chapel Cemetery at last year’s event.

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