‘Wreaths Across America’ coming to Clarion Cemetery

Clarion County resident Noreen Shirey is working with Wreaths Across America, a nonprofit organization, to honor veterans in Clarion Cemetery.

In January, the nine members of the Clarion Cemetery Association voted unanimously to offer Clarion Cemetery as a WAA site. The cemetery has graves for 674 veterans who served in at least five wars.

“My hope is to have all 670 veterans graves (decorated with) wreaths this December,” noted Shirey, who is the wife, daughter and granddaughter of veterans and whose dad is buried in Clarion.

Though the cemetery association approved the site for Shirey, the cemetery is only acting as a location and will not be receiving funds from wreaths sales. Money for wreaths must be submitted directly to WAA for the national wreath laying ceremony in December.

Shirey is currently seeking volunteers for sponsoring, delivering and cleaning up wreaths. Shirey explained this is a great opportunity for scout troops, athletic teams, school groups and students to volunteer.

“(We) encourage the community to remember our veterans, honor their memories and teach their children of the sacrifices made every day,” noted WAA Executive Director Karen Worcester in a press release.

Remember, honoring and teaching are three principals WAA aims to uphold. By selling wreaths to decorate veteran graves, local youth can support military members and their own extracurricular groups at the same time.

WAA reminds citizens there are always military men and women who won’t be home for the holidays. By sharing their stories and gathering to celebrate their sacrifices, we can ensure our veterans are never forgotten.

In 2018, more than a million WAA volunteers placed 1.6 million wreaths at more than 1,500 locations across the world. More than 90,000 volunteers placed almost 250,000 wreaths were placed in Arlington National Cemetery alone.

“We look forward to learning the names and stories of the local heroes buried at Clarion Cemetery,” concluded Worcester.

Dec. 14 will be Clarion Cemetery’s first wreath-laying ceremony. Shirey encourages students, citizens and businesses to honor veterans by actively volunteering at the event or sponsoring a wreath.

It is generally during the holidays when conflict and strife are replaced by charity and goodwill toward others. Charity and goodwill can be fostered all year, however, by sponsoring a wreath of volunteering time and labor.

Information about Clarion Cemetery’s WAA involvement is available at www.wreathsacrossamerica.org. Questions or requests can be submitted to Shirey at clarionpawreaths@outlook.com