Orange County hosted a Wreaths Across America ceremony on Saturday, Dec. 18, at the Veterans Memorial Cemetery.
“The event was a tremendous success and we appreciate the outpouring of support from residents throughout the county,” Orange County Executive Steven M. Neuhaus said. “Hundreds of residents participated which is a testament to how committed Orange County is to our veterans.”
Approximately 3,400 wreaths were laid during the ceremony by more than 200 volunteers at the 19-acre Veterans Memorial Cemetery which has 13,400 plots. About 3,600 men and women are buried there, including 2,700 veterans. Wreaths Across America is a national event, which pays tribute to the military’s fallen heroes during the holidays
The tradition dates to 1992
The tradition of laying wreaths to honor veterans began in 1992, when Morrill Worcester, the owner of Worcester Wreath Company in Harrington, Maine, had extra wreaths at the close of the holiday season. Worcester remembered a boyhood trip to Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C., and decided to donate 5,000 wreaths to be placed on the headstones of an older section of the cemetery.
By 2014, Wreaths Across America and its national network of volunteers laid over 700,000 memorial wreaths at 1,000 locations in the United States and beyond, including ceremonies at the Pearl Harbor Memorial, Bunker Hill, Valley Forge and the sites of the September 11 tragedies.
“We were honored to take part in this meaningful event with our partners in the veteran’s community,” said Christian Farrell, Orange County’s Veterans Service Agency Director, “and have been overwhelmed by the number of residents who want to make sure all the brave servicemen and women buried at the Orange County Veterans Memorial Cemetery are remembered this holiday season.”