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Local groups place wreaths for our fallen

Published: Thu, December 21, 2017 @ 12:00 a.m.

By Susan McMann

OSU Ext. master gardener volunteer

It has been said that a person dies twice: once when he or she takes a final breath, and the second time, the last time their name is spoken. It is the goal of many families and organizations to remember their fallen members by placing wreaths on graves during the holiday season. It is the goal of many organizations, including the Ohio State University Extension Master Gardener Volunteers, to remember our fallen veterans by placing evergreen wreaths on graves during the holiday season.

Many families and organizations use evergreen wreaths. Evergreen is the most frequently used material in making wreaths as it symbolizes everlasting life. What better way to remember, honor and teach our younger generations about the service and life of our fallen members than by placing evergreen wreaths on graves.

When placing the wreaths, names of the deceased may be spoken, to keep their memory alive.

The shape of a circle for wreaths has many meanings. The meanings have changed over time, based on symbols for religions, events and remembrance.

The most common symbolism in recent times revolves around the green colors of the materials and the representation of life or everlasting life.

A wreath near the entrance of the home at Christmas is thought to bring good luck and cheer to all who enter.

Recently, the Mahoning County OSU Extension Master Gardeners, along with family and American Legion members, and other volunteers, placed over 150 wreaths on our fallen veterans’ graves. This is our 11th year doing this project at cemetery locations across Mahoning County. The wreaths were placed to honor veterans during the holiday season. In addition, seven ceremonial wreaths were placed to remember all soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, and POWs who served, honor their sacrifices, and teach our younger generations about the high cost of our freedoms. It is the goal that local communities will follow our lead after two years at a cemetery site.

Last year, 4-H Clubs in Ellsworth and Berlin Center joined the effort and now host Wreaths for our Veterans events in their communities each year. All groups not only lay wreaths, but include the community and hold a ceremony of remembrance. Families of the fallen often join in the ceremonies, and are always welcome to lay the wreath for their veteran.

Each year, all of our groups gather donations from anyone who wants to contribute and recognize our veterans locally. Donations are tax-deductible. Contact OSU Extension at 330-533-5538 to get in contact with any of the groups to make a contribution.

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