Ford Sailors participate in Wreaths Across America
Story by Petty Officer 3rd Class Cathrine Mae O. Campbell
HAMPTON, Va. — Pre-Commissioning Unit Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) Sailors participated in A Wreaths Across America Ceremony held on Dec. 17 at Hampton National Cemetery in honor of all veterans past and present.
“I’m a firm believer in always giving back to those who have served,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Zachary Perez, a volunteer from Ford’s weapons department. “I think it’s important as a military member to remember our brothers and sisters in arms. Being able to lay the wreaths is a small sacrifice on my part for the ultimate sacrifice they’ve paid.”
Wreaths Across America is a nationwide wreath-laying ceremony that honors fallen veterans every December. This was the fifth year that Wreaths Across America was held at Hampton National Cemetery and more than 8,000 wreaths were placed on veterans’ gravestones by volunteers.
“It is important for everyone to come together as a community and participate in the annual Wreaths Across America activities because it is important for us to remember the ultimate sacrifice made by most of the individuals buried at the national cemeteries,” said Maribel Beckwith, the Wreath Across America location leader for Hampton National Cemetery.
Beckwith stresses the importance of community support and how Wreaths Across America is only as successful as the community allows it to be.
“It’s important for the community to know that this event will be held every year,” Beckwith said. “We want to continue, but we can only do so with community support. We encourage every organization, every church group, every business and every community group to sponsor wreaths, do some fundraising and please support.”
Ford’s color guard and choir also performed during the ceremony.
“Despite the cold weather and it being my first time to participate in this event, I felt proud to be able to honor our fallen heroes,” said Seaman Seth Anderson, a Sailor from Ford’s weapons department and member of the ship’s color guard. “In my opinion, having past and present military members attend shows the support we have for one another and how connected we can be.”
For more information on Wreaths Across America, please go to http://www.wreathsacrossamerica.org.