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Camp Ripley: Communities gather to remember and honor veterans during the holidays

CAMP RIPLEY--Each year thousands of wreaths are placed on the gravestones that fill the grounds at the State Veterans Cemetery outside of Camp Ripley.

Hundreds of service members, civic leaders and community members gather at the State Veteran's cemetery near Camp Ripley to assist in laying several thousand wreaths on the grave markers of Minnesota veterans. Photo by Staff Sgt. Anthony Housey/Camp Ripley Public Affairs
Hundreds of service members, civic leaders and community members gather at the State Veteran's cemetery near Camp Ripley to assist in laying several thousand wreaths on the grave markers of Minnesota veterans. Photo by Staff Sgt. Anthony Housey/Camp Ripley Public Affairs

CAMP RIPLEY-Each year thousands of wreaths are placed on the gravestones that fill the grounds at the State Veterans Cemetery outside of Camp Ripley.

"We are an organization that places wreaths on the grave markers of our veterans," said organizer John Thomas. "Our goal and mission of Wreaths For The Fallen is to honor all of our country's fallen with this small display of our appreciation."

The Minnesota State Veterans Cemetery said that 2015 has been its busiest year, with new interments totaling nearly 500 since last fall.

It all started in 2006 when five wreaths, representing the five branches of the Armed Forces, were delivered to the cemetery for a ceremony honoring our country's fallen veterans. With the efforts of WreathsForTheFallen.org this event has grown substantially where over 400 wreaths were placed last December in remembrance of our countries fallen heroes.

"Last year we had almost one thousand requests to place a wreath on a specific grave of a family's loved one," said Thomas.

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The remembrance ceremony will be at 11 a.m. on Dec. 12 at the cemetery, 15550 Minnesota Highway 115, Little Falls. Everyone is invited to participate in the wreath-laying ceremony. Organizers encourage a 10 a.m. arrival time to ensure everyone is safely in place before they begin.

The ceremony involves representatives from each branch of the military assembled at the Flag Assembly Area by the Memorial Walkway. Several thousand wreaths will be placed on graves by volunteers from Camp Ripley, the Minnesota Patriot Guard, Minnesota Civil Air Patrol, VFWs, American Legions, other civic organizations and families from a wide area. Everyone is invited to assist in the wreath distribution.

Should anyone desire to have a wreath placed on a specific grave all they need to do is provide the name and birthdate for each wreath requested and we shall take care of the rest. A handmade Balsam Fir wreath with a bright red bow will be placed on the graves in their honor.

A moment of silence will be held prior to the ceremony to honor the Service-members that continue to fight in foreign conflicts and for those that are not able to be with us this holiday season.

"It is a great honor to be a part of this annual event over the past several years; occasions like this bring our communities closer together to remember those that have served to protect our rights and freedoms," said Camp Ripley Garrison Commander Col. Scott St. Sauver.

For additional information, contact John Thomas, president of WreathsForTheFallen.org, at 218-829-6622 or go to www.WreathsForTheFallen.org .

Related Topics: CAMP RIPLEY
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