PIERRE, S.D. – The South Dakota Funeral Directors Association will again participate in Wreaths Across America, a national program which pays tribute to fallen veterans of all wars during the Christmas season. A formal wreath presentation will be held at the Flaming Fountain Veterans Memorial on Capitol Lake in Pierre at 11:00 AM on Monday, December 7, 2015.
The Wreaths Across America story began in 1992 when Worcester Wreath Company (a non-profit organization from Harrington, Maine) began a tradition of placing wreaths on the headstones of our Nation’s fallen heroes at Arlington National Cemetery during the holidays. The national wreath laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery in Alexandria, Virginia will be held on Saturday, December 12, 2015 at 12:00 Noon EST. This will be the Wreaths Across America organization’s 24th year of laying wreaths at our Nation’s cemetery (www.WreathsAcrossAmerica.org). This year also marks the 151st anniversary of Arlington National Cemetery (www.arlingtoncemetery.mil).
In 2014, Wreaths Across America and our national network of volunteers laid over 700,000 memorial wreaths at 1,000 locations in the United States and beyond. They were able to include ceremonies at the Pearl Harbor Memorial, as well as Bunker Hill, Valley Forge and the sites if the September 11 tragedies. Wreaths Across America accomplished this with help from 2,047 fundraising groups, corporate contributions, and donations of trucking, shipping, and thousands of helping hands. Our goal of covering Arlington National Cemetery was accomplished in 2014 with the placement of 226,525 wreaths.
The Wreaths Across America’s mission is to Remember, Honor, and Teach. Remember the fallen, Honor those who serve including their families who sacrifice, and Teach our children the cost of the freedoms we enjoy each day. It is our shared belief that…
‘The nation which forgets its defenders will soon be forgotten.’ – Calvin Coolidge
This year will be our 9th annual wreath laying ceremony. Participants in the South Dakota ceremony are the Board of Directors and members of the South Dakota Funeral Directors Association (SDFDA), Pierre Post 8 American Legion, Pierre VFW Post 2038, Oahe Marine Corps League, Vietnam Era Veterans Association and the Disabled American Veterans. Featured speakers confirmed at this time will be Governor Dennis Daugaard; Major General Tim Reisch, Adjutant General of the South Dakota National Guard; and Doug Nohava, President of the South Dakota Funeral Directors Association. The T.F. Riggs High School Chamber Choir under the direction of Rodd Bauck will perform our national anthem. The public is encouraged to attend to help pay tribute to fallen soldiers during the Christmas season.
The South Dakota Funeral Directors Association is a professional association that represents the funeral service professionals and the funeral home establishments in the state. The Association provides education, legislative representation and public relations statewide.