GREENVILLE – Fort GreeneVille Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) reached its goal of placing 1,602 wreaths, one for every veteran’s grave at the Greenville Union Cemetery. The initiative began locally in 2018 with DAR placing 315 veteran wreathes at the cemetery.
DAR Vice Regent, Debbie Nisonger welcome all in attendance stating: “Thank you for joining us here today as we celebrate the mission to remember the fallen, honor those that serve and their families, and teach the next generation the value of Freedom.”
Pastor Alan Knoke, St. Pauls Lutheran Church had the opening prayer followed by Boy Scout Troop 134 leading the Pledge of Allegiance and the Versailles Color Guard presenting arms.
“The freedoms we enjoy today have not come without a price,” said DAR Regent Penny Walker. “Lying here before us and in cemeteries though out this nation are men and women who gave their lives so that we can live in freedom and without fear.”
United States Air Force Brigadier General Dale White was guest speaker at the wreath laying event.
White is the Program Executive Officer for Fighters and Advanced Aircraft, Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Air Force Materiel Command, Wright Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. He is responsible for the development, production, fielding, sustainment, and modernization of the Air Force fighter portfolio, which includes $42 billion for A-10, A-29, F-15, F-16, F-22, and special programs; as well as the development of the Next Generation Air Dominance program and other advance aircraft capability development activities, to include the Skyborg Vanguard program. In addition, he is responsible for the management and execution of $90.5 billion in active FMS case funding to provide TACAIR capability to our international Partners.
“I am honored to be here today and I am so impressed with the Greenville Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution pulling all this together and getting to be a part of it, taking the time this holiday season, reflecting and remembering those veterans that came before us to preserve both our nation and our freedoms,” General White told My County Link. “This is a grand opportunity to take that opportunity to be with other people, fellowship and I’m just really excited to be here today.”
Wreaths were placed at the Veteran’s Memorial monument recognizing United States service personnel from each branch of service, the 93,129 United States service personnel from all branches of service whose last known status was Prisoner of War or Missing in Action. First Responders were also recognized with a wreath.
“As we start the task of laying these wreaths and honor and respect I would ask that you make this day personal,” said General White. “When my children were younger and I would bring them out to do this. it was always a personal thing for us. The two things I would always tell them, reflect and remember.”
“Reflect on what it takes to maintain and preserve the freedom of the nation in this experiment we call democracy and then remember those that came before us who served and protected,” the Dallas, TX native added. “Many of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice, some of those are laid to rest here on this ground we stand on today.”
DAR member Virginia Kagey had closing remarks for those in attendance. “We are not here today to decorate graves,” she said. “We are here to remember not their deaths, but their lives. Each wreath is a gift of appreciation from a grateful America.”
Pastor Knoke closed in prayer, TAPS were played and the Colors were retired followed by laying of the wreaths throughout Greenville Union Cemetery.