Wreaths Across America honors those who have either made the ultimate sacrifice or gave their time to the armed forces during their life. The day is a coordinated wreath-laying ceremony at more than 1,400 locations across the United States, at sea and abroad. Comanche participated in 2018 and this year they are hoping for the same support.
Co-organizers Susan Mitchell and Janet Siebert said they began were working on the project last year because of their families.
“Both of our husbands are military and we just felt the desire to do it,” Mitchell said. “It’s going to be beautiful to see all those wreaths as you drive past the cemetery and to just know that we’ve honored them.”
With what they expected to be around 400 or so wreaths exploded to close to 580, with them needing even more.
“Oh my, we were overwhelmed at how successful it was,” Mitchell said. “We have 650 wreaths prepared for this year. Walmart was generous and donated 192 just last week. The generosity of our community has just been amazing.”
This year’s ceremony is set for 11 a.m. Dec. 14 at Fairlawn cemetery with the Comanche High Band playing patriotic songs and Rep. Marcus McEntire will give a short program.
“We fashioned it after ‘Wreaths Across America’ it’s just ‘Wreaths Across Fairlawn’ which is just our Comanche Cemetery. We do it on the same day,” Mitchell said. “We want to see every veteran hero resting at Fairlawn honored at Christmas, with a wreath on their grave. I have an uncle who fought in WWI, I never met him, he died the same year I was born, 1952. He did marry but he never had children and I think it was probably the first wreath ever placed on his grave.”
Finding who was a veteran was trickier than expected, from buried markers to no markers at all the group tried to make sure all were honored.
“We had several people come up to us the day of last year and tell us ‘There’s nothing on my veteran’s grave’ and we did get everyone covered but not that day because we ran out of wreaths,” she said. “We were just overwhelmed at the amount of people that showed up.”
The number of veterans is something Mitchell thinks Comanche should be proud of.
“The amount of veterans that are in our cemetery — I grew up in Comanche and that’s my hometown and there were people who were veterans who I had no idea that had ever served.” she said. “It was a different era, the guys came back from war and they didn’t talk a lot about stuff. They kept it hidden inside. I was surprised at some of my classmates and their dads that had served and I never knew it.”
For more information visit “Wreaths Across Fairlawn—Comanche, OK” on Facebook.