By Tiffany Pelt - email
LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) – As part of the nationwide Wreaths Across America, Lubbock's Civil Air Patrol Squadron placed nearly 400 wreaths on veteran's graves early Saturday morning at the Lubbock Cemetery to remember those who served our country.
Started in 1992 by at the Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, Wreaths Across America has slowly become a tradition for hundreds of cemeteries each year, taking place on the Saturday after Pearl Harbor day. Ten years ago, the local Civil Air Patrol Squadron brought this day of remembrance to Lubbock.
"The cadets from the Lubbock Composite Squadron sold 360 wreaths this year," said Kyle Vernon, Squadron Deputy Commander. "We met earlier this morning about sunrise, and we began placing the wreaths on the graves."
The simple wreaths topped with a red bow were shipped from Maine by a veteran at no charge, but these wreaths symbolize freedom isn't always free.
"There is a price to be paid for our freedom, for the things that we enjoy and the things that we take as just a given. So many times we need to stop and say thanks because someone gave their today so we have our tomorrow. They gave their future for us," said Vernon.
In addition to the 360 wreaths placed on individual graves, seven wreaths were placed at a monument at the cemetery engraved with the phrase, "Those who serve our country in the time of war, they gave their today for our tomorrow."
Each of the seven wreaths represented the different branches, one for the 93,129 prisoners of war and soldiers still missing in action.
"I think that people once they've passed on they get forgotten, but we don't want to forget anybody, especially somebody who gave their life in war time," said Terry Maroste, a veteran Air Force captain who served during the Vietnam War.
There are about 2,200 veterans laid to rest at the Lubbock Cemetery so unfortunately not all veteran graves were decorated with a wreath, but over the last ten years the wreaths have been placed in different areas of the cemetery making sure each veteran is remembered at one time or another.
While the big wreaths remind people to honor and thank those who have passed away after dedicating their lives to our country, it also reminds them to remember those currently serving overseas."It means a lot to people in the service to have our country behind them. They deserve it, and they need it," said Maroste.
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