It’s said that everyone dies twice, “Once when they take their final breath and later, the last time their name is spoken.” Making an effort to assure that all American veterans never experience the later a program called Wreaths Across America began at Arlington Cemetery. The annual tribute went on quietly for several years, until 2005, when a photo of the stones at Arlington, adorned with wreaths and covered in snow, circulated around the internet. This year their wreath lying ceremonies in all 50 states including Alaska and locally on the Kenai Peninsula at the Soldotna and Kenai cemeteries. VFW Post# 10046 commander Anne Toutant officiated in Soldotna and in a short interview with the Dispatch said, “This is becoming a fabulous tradition and ceremony, when we lay wreaths on veterans’ graves, we say their names.
We are not here to ‘decorate graves.’ We’re here to remember not their deaths, but their lives. This year we were fortunate that Bob Miles headed up the program in this area and we were able to raise enough money for wreaths at the Kenai and Soldotna cemeteries. We are hoping in the next year we will continue to branch out to other cemeteries and continue this program every year with the goal of reaching every cemetery in Alaska. The wreath has significant meaning for the season. Its circular shape represents eternity, for it has no beginning and no end. From a religious perspective, it represents an unending circle of life. The evergreen, most frequently used in making wreathes, symbolizes growth and everlasting life and our goal is that our veterans who served our countries will never be forgotten,” she said. To find out more visit wreathsacrossamerica.org.