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Harford’s Civil Air Patrol unit participates in Wreaths Across America in Havre de Grace

Cadet Technical Sergeant Erin Travers lays wreath on a headstone. Members of the Harford Composite Squadron helped stage wreaths at the Angel Hill Cemetery in Havre de Grace in preparation for the Wreaths Across America ceremony there Dec. 14.
Cadet Technical Sergeant Erin Travers lays wreath on a headstone. Members of the Harford Composite Squadron helped stage wreaths at the Angel Hill Cemetery in Havre de Grace in preparation for the Wreaths Across America ceremony there Dec. 14. (Michelle Travers / HANDOUT)

Every December, it’s a Civil Air Patrol holiday tradition observed by all 52 CAP wings and even abroad. From Hawaii’s Punchbowl to snow-covered sites in the upper Midwest to a Civil War battlefield in Georgia to the poppy fields of Normandy, France, thousands of CAP officers and cadets participate in Wreaths Across America observances to honor the nation’s fallen. They present the colors, deliver orations and place veterans’ wreaths on headstones at national cemeteries and war memorials.

CAP officers and cadets join an estimated 90,000 volunteers at Arlington on Dec. 14 for National Wreaths Across America Day. At Arlington and at nearly 1,500 U.S. cemeteries and memorial sites around the world, other volunteers — many of them CAP members — also participate in the venture, placing more than a million and a half fresh balsam evergreens from Maine on the graves of military veterans as a tribute to their service and sacrifice.

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Wreaths Across America ceremonies are conducted at national cemeteries and war memorials around the world. The initiative is a heartfelt way to remember, honor and teach — goals that mirror CAP’s devotion to the military.

Members of the Harford Composite Squadron met with members of the Joseph L. Davis American Legion Post 47 and members of the Hogs and Heroes Foundation of America Maryland Chapter 2, at the Angel Hill Cemetery in Havre de Grace to stage the wreaths in preparation for the ceremony. It was cold and rainy, but the cadets and senior members who attended, assisted with accomplishing the mission.

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“Civil Air Patrol has been a proud partner in Wreaths Across America since the nonprofit was founded in 2007,” said CAP National Commander Maj. Gen. Mark Smith. “Thousands of service-minded CAP members across America tap into the initiative each year — selling wreath sponsorships to the public, laying wreaths and conducting ceremonies to mark the day with pomp, circumstance and patriotism.”

“Each and every wreath is a gift from an appreciative person or family who knows what it means to serve and sacrifice for the freedoms we all enjoy, fulfilling our mission to Remember, Honor and Teach,” said Karen Worcester, executive director of Wreaths Across America.

Besides CAP, numerous other civic and charitable organizations, as well as corporate donors, are also involved in the effort, which receives notable support from Gold Star Mothers in the U.S., the Silver Star Mothers in Canada and the Patriot Guard Riders motorcycle club.

The most visible Wreaths Across America event is a weeklong convoy that begins with a wreath exchange at the Canadian border with Maine and proceeds down the Northeast corridor, stopping for numerous ceremonies along the way. This year, over 65 trucks will be part of the convoy unloading their cargo of wreaths at Arlington, where the remainder of the day is devoted to special wreath placements at cemetery sites such as the Tomb of the Unknowns and the USS Maine Mast Memorial.

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For more information about Wreaths Across America visit www.wreathsacrossamerica.org.

Civil Air Patrol, the longtime all-volunteer U.S. Air Force auxiliary, is the newest member of the Air Force’s Total Force. In this role, CAP operates a fleet of 560 aircraft, performs about 90 percent of continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center and is credited by the AFRCC with saving an average of 82 lives annually. CAP’s 66,000 members also perform homeland security, disaster relief and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies. In addition, CAP plays a leading role in aerospace/STEM education, and its members serve as mentors to over 28,000 young people participating in CAP’s Cadet Programs. Visit www.GoCivilAirPatrol.com or www.CAP.news for more information.

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