Maui News

National Wreaths Across America Day Scheduled for Dec. 19

December 11, 2020, 10:20 AM HST
* Updated December 11, 9:34 AM
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2020 National Wreaths Across America Day. Courtesy Photo,

The Maui County Composite Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol announced that it is the official location sponsor for the “National Wreaths Across America Day” event scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 19, 2020 at the Maui Veterans Cemetery in Makawao.

This year’s theme is “Be an American Worth Fighting For,” inspired Staff Sgt. Daniel Strong’s keynote address at a welcome stop during the 2018 escort to Arlington.

The event is free and open to the public. Participants who plan to sponsor a wreath or volunteer can do so on the event website.

To ensure a safe event, modifications have been made, including:

  • Wearing masks;
  • Wearing gloves;
  • Socially distancing by at least 10 feet;
  • Limited number of visitors;
  • Limited number of volunteers;
  • Smaller ceremony; and
  • Virtual ceremony to be made available via Facebook Live and recorded on Youtube
  • Staggered wreath laying.

“We had a difficult time wrestling with whether or not to continue the event due to COVID-19 gathering restrictions”, remarked Lt Darryl Barret Ng, Commander of the Maui County Composite Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol,”but we feel confident that the plan we have submitted to our State Wing and to the County of Maui to keep everyone at a 10-foot distance and not allowing groups to mix, combined with the outdoor location and other modifications will make for a safe event this year.”

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Each year, millions of Americans come together to remember the fallen, honor those that serve and their families and teach the next generation about the value of freedom. This gathering of volunteers and patriots takes place in local and national cemeteries in all 50 states – most recently at more than 2,000 participating locations.

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The inspiration for this year’s theme came from a keynote address made by Staff Sgt. Daniel Strong during the 2018 escort to Arlington welcome stop at Montachusett Regional Vocational Technical School (Monty Tech) located in Fitchburg, Mass. As an infantryman in the United States Marine Corps, he lost 18 Marines during his service, three were his friends when he was a Lance Corporal, six as their Squad Leader and the remaining nine as their Platoon Sergeant. Each impacted SSgt. Strong in a unique way as he witnessed first-hand what true sacrifice was and experienced the ripple effect it has on all involved.

His message that December day spoke to the daily importance of the mission to Remember, Honor and Teach, and the emotion is now teacher-ingrained in his JROTC students. “Be an American worth the sacrifice. In your daily operations, and in how you deal with one another and how you live your lives,” said SSgt. Strong. “Those young men and women who are in Arlington National Cemetery and other cemeteries, they earned the right for you to be an American worth fighting for.”

This sentiment speaks volumes as more United States military are deploying to serve and fight, if needed, to protect the freedoms we enjoy as American citizens. Each of them, playing their part so that we too can play ours back home by being an active participant in our communities.

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Lieutenant Darryl Ng, Commander of the Squadron said “We are so proud to be sponsoring such a great event in honor of our fallen Veterans. We really need to show our military ʻohana that we value their service in the protection of this great nation. We are asking our community to come out and make a pledge so that we can honor every grave this holiday season and looking for volunteers to help lay those wreaths on their graves this Dec. 19.”

In 2019, approximately 2.2 million veteran wreaths were placed on headstones at 2,158 participating locations around the country in honor of the service and sacrifices made for our freedoms, with each name said out loud. The goal for this year is to honor as many of the over 3,000 service members laid to rest at Maui Veterans Cemetery.

Wreath sponsorships are only $15, and can be sponsored at www.WreathsAcrossAmerica.org/HI0028P.

“Every $15 wreath sponsorship is a meaningful gift from a grateful American who knows what it means to serve and sacrifice for the freedoms we all enjoy,” said Karen Worcester, executive director of Wreaths Across America. “Whether the wreath is placed this December, or next, know that your gift will be honored. We are so grateful to the good people of this great nation for participating in our mission to Remember, Honor and Teach.”

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