Thursday, 02 February 2023

Special holiday ceremony will honor vets

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Veterans Circle at Hartley Cemetery will be the site of a special holiday ceremony Saturday. Courtesy photo.

 

 

LAKEPORT – A special ceremony to honor the county's veterans will be held this Saturday.


For the first time, Christmas wreaths will be laid at the Veterans Circle at Hartley Cemetery at 9 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 15. The ceremony will take place concurrently with wreath-laying ceremonies around the country that day, scheduled for noon Eastern Standard Time.


Lakeport resident Slick Hultquist is working with local veterans groups on the Saturday ceremony.


Hultquist recently heard about the Worcester Wreath Co. – based in Harrington, Maine – which each year supplies wreaths to Arlington National Cemetery.


The company's Web site reported that the effort began in 1992; each year they supplied more than 5,000 wreaths to adorn the headstones of fallen veterans.


In 2006, the company launched Wreaths Across America, and began doubling its wreath donation to Arlington, now sending 10,000 each year, its Web site reported.


Besides the Arlington wreaths, the company reported that beginning in 2006 it donated another 2,500 wreaths to the Maine Veterans Cemetery at Togus, and more than 1,800 ceremonial wreaths to more than 200 other state and national veterans cemeteries across the country.


This year, the company reported that it added 24 veterans cemeteries on foreign soil and US ships sailing in all seven seas to their donations.


On Dec. 10, 51 wreaths were donated for special wreath-laying ceremonies at each state capitol and the US Capitol, according to the company.


Hultquist said he emailed the company and sent a picture of Veterans Circle. Hultquist then got a call back from the company.


“They said they were so impressed that they're sending us seven [wreaths],” said Hultquist.


The wreaths were due to arrive Wednesday.


Hultquist said the ceremony will be informal. He will lay a wreath at the base of the flagpole, and a member of each of the military's five branches also will lay a wreath during the Saturday ceremony, he explained. A bugler will then play “Taps.” United Veterans Council Chaplain Woody Hughes also will lead a prayer.


“It's basically a show of respect,” said Hultquist.


All of the local veterans groups have been invited to participate, said Hultquist.


Dean Gotham, president of Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 951, said Thursday his group will be represented at the morning ceremony, and he anticipates other local veterans groups also will take part.


Veterans Circle, said Gotham, was dedicated on Veterans Day 2006.


Originally meant to be a final resting place for indigent vets, Gotham said the rules for burial in the special area have since been changed. Restrictions on indigent status were so strict that nobody could qualify, he said.


No one has yet been buried there, he said. However, under the new rules, it is open to all veterans, but is for cremated remains only.


Hultquist said he plans to organize a wreath laying next year as well.


Hartley Cemetery is located at 2552 Hill Road East in Lakeport.


E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


 

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