The Wreaths Across America Ceremony in Waxhaw began promptly at noon on Saturday, December 16 with a beautiful and sweet rendition of the National Anthem. The melody floated across the crisp air and through Waxhaw City Cemetery carrying the words that are the heartbeat of our country with it. The feelings of pride, melancholy for loved ones gone, respect and patriotism mingled in the air with the lyrics and settled across the gathered crowd just as fog settles on the fields of planters.
The ceremony was moving, to say the least. The family members of fallen and passed war heroes were seated in the rows of folding chairs lined neatly in front of the white tents that housed the display of wreaths. In solemn form, the Parkwood JROTC, along with honored members of the Armed Forces, hung a wreath in tribute to each of the six branches along with POW and MIA soldiers.
Author of four books written about the experiences of those who have served, Bryan Boyett, made a striking addition to the ceremony by reading aloud excerpts from his novel “UNSUNG HEROS: Voices of World War II”. Boyett retold the accounts of two World War II soldiers, both of whom are still alive today. The weight of their experiences on the battlefield, spoken aloud across the graves of their fallen comrades, was a moving moment for all in attendance.
The ceremony was closed with a playing of Taps. The forlorn trumpet seemed to cry for the those who have given their lives for the lives of so many, yet held strong and clear as a sign of the indelible strength and bravery that these service members embodied. The space of the silence in the graveyard was filled with the thanks of all who were present.
Following the Laying of the Wreaths, families of loved ones who had veterans buried in City Cemetery were handed wreaths to place on the graves of their soldiers by JROCT members. Volunteers had gathered to lay wreaths on those graves who did not have a family or friends there to do it for them that day. Thanks to the community, no grave was left lonely or unremembered.
What a meaningful and moving way to take time this holiday to remember what we are thankful for.