Christmas wreaths to be placed on veterans graves in Bel Air, Havre de Grace

The Joseph L. Davis American Legion Post 49 in Havre de Grace will join its counterpart Harford Post 39 in Bel Air to put wreaths on the graves of veterans in mid-December.

This will be the first year the Havre de Grace Legion post will be placing the wreaths, according to Alma Orive, a Legion member who’s organizing the event.

“It just seems like we have a lot of people who get forgotten in cemeteries,” Orive, a Vietnam veteran, said. “It’s nice to be remembered as a veteran. When it’s a World War I or World War II vet, most of your family is already dead, so there’s nobody looking out for the veterans. I thought it would be something nice to do.”

She hopes to be able to place 200 wreaths, though that number depends on how many are bought. Wreaths are $15 each; checks can be brought or mailed to American Legion Post 47, 501 St. John St., Havre de Grace MD 21078.

As of Tuesday, the Legion still needed about $600 to reach its 200-wreath goal, Orive said. The deadline to buy a wreath is Dec. 3.

The Bel Air American Legion Post 39 has been placing wreaths on graves in local cemeteries for at least 10 years, said Kathy Holden Fenn, one of the organizers of the Bel Air program.

“There’s only 7 percent of the population who raises their hand to serve, including myself,” said Fenn, who served in the Navy during the Cold War. “And I am a big supporter of veterans and remembering them and saluting them. I love America, and this is a way to show my continued support.”

The Bel Air post placed about 750 wreaths last year at Bel Air Memorial Gardens, and Fenn hopes to do as many, if not more, this year, she said.

There are probably about 1,800 veterans graves in the Bel Air cemetery where wreaths could be placed on if enough were purchased, Fenn said.

As of Monday, about 350 wreaths had been In Bel Air. To buy a wreath, donors can stop by the American Legion Post 39 on Hickory Avenue.

The local Wreaths Across America programs are done through the national non-profit organization, the mission of which is to remember, honor and teach, according to a news release.

“Remember those who gave their lives, honor those who served and teach the next generation about our heroes, teach your children the value of freedom,” Fenn said.

Each local American Legion will host two ceremonies on Dec. 15.

Havre de Grace’s will start at 1 p.m. with an overview of Wreaths Across America and where volunteers will receive the names of the veterans for whom they will be responsible for placing a wreath.

Volunteers will then depart for Angel Hill Cemetery, where a ceremony will begin at 2 p.m. in the military section, Orive said.

Anyone who would like to volunteer with the wreath-laying in Havre de Grace can contact Orive, 443-655-6923 or funandhorses2@yahoo.com.

Bel Air’s ceremony will begin at noon at the veterans memorial at the corner of Hickory Avenue and Lee Way, adjacent to Bel Town Hall.

Volunteers will then go to the memorial gardens to place the wreaths.

Anyone who would like to volunteer to place the wreaths can contact Fenn at 443-528-9905.

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