Flagler County residents are organizing to place wreaths on the graves of veterans of local veterans, and have already raised enough to cover the event this year and get a good start on next year, said Janet Search, the chair of Palm Coast Wreaths for Veterans, a local branch of Wreaths Across America.
In doing so, local residents will be joining a national Wreaths Across America event that is held annually on Dec. 14. The ceremony has not previously been organized in Flagler County.
Palm Coast Wreaths for Veterans raised the through private donations and a silent auction at the local Elks Club, Search said.
"We raised over $4,000 to put wreaths on all the veterans' graves down on Old Kings Road," she said. "We got well past our $4,000 that we needed, but we’ll have a good start for next year."
Search and Ron Young, a veteran who is also assisting with the effort, attended the Dec. 2 Veterans Advisory Council meeting to tell council members about the event, which will be held at 11:30 a.m. Dec. 14 at Craig Flagler Palms Funeral Home and Cemetery, with a ceremony involving representatives of the branches of the armed services. The ceremony will also involve the placing of wreaths at the flags of the branches of the services.
Palm Coast Wreaths for Veterans is seeking a Coast Guard veteran to place a wreath at the Coast Guard flag during the event. Interested veterans should call Janet Search at 386-237-4202.
And, at such ceremonies across America, "At the exact same time, everybody’s going through their moment of silence," Search said, with the timing of the events coordinated so that events occurring in different time zones are happening simultaneously.
Young said he got involved to ensure that young veterans are treated more respectfully than veterans were during the Vietnam era.
"These kids coming back, we're not going to let therm go through all that bad stuff that we went through," he said.
Tanya Whitaker, an Army veteran who represents Team Red, White & Blue on the Veterans Advisory Council, said that in the past she's attended such events in Ormond Beach.
"This is one of my favorite events every year," she said. "The last two years, I bring my kids and make them help. … So we’ve made it an event, and I have a group of people who will be going as well."
Palm Coast Wreaths for Veterans is seeking a Coast Guard veteran to place a wreath at the Coast Guard flag during the event. Interested veterans should call Search at 386-237-4202.