A scene from the 2019 Wreaths Across America ceremony at the Anna City Cemetery. File photo.A Wreaths Across America ceremony is planned Saturday morning, Dec. 19, at the Anna City Cemetery.

Wreaths Across America ceremony set in Anna

The Wreaths Across America mission to Remember, Honor, Teach, is the foundation behind all the organizations efforts. 

Throughout the year, local volunteers have been tirelessly working to make certain that families, loved ones and heroes get honored and remembered for the holidays. 

However, the challenge was doing so in a way that is consistent with safety and in compliance with local COVID-19 recommendations and mandates. 

Anna City Commissioner Martha Ann Webb has made it a clear priority to try to get every veteran in the Anna City Cemetery a wreath.

To insure the continuance of this year’s program in the Anna City Cemetery, modifications have been made to ensure the continuance of National Wreaths Across America Day, which is planned at 11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 19 –  and more importantly to show the families of the nation’s heroes just how much their ultimate sacrifice is appreciated.

Phil Ray will be leading Saturday’s ceremony at the Anna City Cemetery. The order of the program for Saturday’s ceremony follows:

Anna VFW honor guard, flag-bearers. Opening prayer given by Phil Ray.

National Anthem by Anna-Jonesboro Community High School band director Rachel Norton and the high school concert choir. 

Pledge of Allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, led by Marine veteran Jerry Hunter. 

Message of honor given by Phil Ray. Symbolic wreath laying led by Phil Ray. 

Moment of silence and Taps honoring deceased veterans by VFW bugler Jerry Forcht. 

Closing prayer given by Phil Ray. Then the Honor Wreaths for Veterans will be placed on the graves.

A decision to amend this year’s traditional wreath laying was not made lightly and organizers have gone to great lengths to address public safety while maintaining the best interests of families whose loved ones are interred at the Anna City Cemetery.

Modifications include: Wearing masks. Wearing gloves. Socially distancing. Shorter ceremony. Staggered wreath laying.

The organizers of the ceremony explained in a news release that “these continued efforts prove our resolve and tell the story of our commitment to our fallen veterans while demonstrating our appreciation for everything they have done to preserve the freedom that we all enjoy today. 

Wreath sponsorships are $15, and can be sponsored directly at www.WreathsAcrossAmerica.org/ILAILA. 

There is a Sponsorship Group supporting the Anna City Cemetery. This group represents a local civic and veteran organization giving back within the community. Any sponsorships raised through this group this year will benefit the Anna City Cemetery to purchase more wreaths, through the $5 back program. 

Honor Wreaths for Veterans is the Sponsorship Group and donations can be made at www.HonorWreathsforVeterans.com by choosing the Anna City Cemetery. 

“Every $15 wreath sponsorship is a meaningful gift from a grateful American who knows what it means to serve and sacrifice for the freedoms we all enjoy,” said Karen Worcester, executive director of Wreaths Across America, in the news release. 

“Whether the wreath is placed this December, or next, know that your gift will be honored. We are so grateful to the good people of this great nation for participating in our mission to Remember, Honor and Teach.”

Wreaths Across America is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded to continue and expand the annual wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery begun by Maine businessman Morrill Worcester in 1992. 

The organization’s mission – Remember, Honor, Teach – is carried out in part each year by coordinating wreath-laying ceremonies in December at Arlington, as well as at thousands of veterans’ cemeteries and other locations in all 50 states and beyond. 

The Gazette-Democrat

112 Lafayette St.
Anna, Illinois 62906
Office Number: (618) 833-2158
Email: news@annanews.com

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