GREENVILLE — Fort GreeneVille Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) hosted a ceremony at noon on Dec. 19, for National Wreaths Across America Day. Thanks to the donors, sponsors, and volunteers, especially those who donated during the wreath matching last Jan., attendees were able to place over 1,250 wreaths last Saturday.
The ceremony began with a twenty second moment of silence to remember the fallen, the prisoners of war, the missing in action, and to honor those who are serving, or have served in the U.S. armed forces. All in attendance then said a prayer, posted the colors, and recited the pledge of allegiance led by Boy Scout Troops 134.
Opening remarks were delivered by Regent Brenda Arnett of the DAR. She thanked armed service veterans for their commitment to our country, and reminded all in attendance of the sacrifices made by veterans and their families.
“The United States of America was founded on the ideals of freedom, justice, and equality. Our nation stands as a beacon of liberty and freedom to the world,” Arnett said. “We thank those who gave their lives to keep us free and we shall not forget you. We shall remember.”
Though there were many wreaths presented on Saturday, here are a few highlights:
Ron Schall presented a wreath to Steve Black, a veteran of the United States Army. Charles Shield presented a wreath to Chuck Bowen in dedication to his service in the U.S. Marine Corps. Andrew Bryant presented a ceremonial wreath to Richard Grow in honor of his service in the U.S. Navy. Chris Eberst Nehring, a retired United States Air Force veteran, handed the ceremonial wreath to Robin Meinerding for the United States Air Force. Rich Hadden, of the United States Coast Guard, presented a wreath to Jason Winterrowd in honor of the United States Coast Guard. Thomas Pittman, a retired United States Air Force veteran, handed ceremonial wreath to Mike Wise, Navy for the United States Merchant Marines.
Sandra King, of Gold Star Mothers, handed a ceremonial wreath to Kathy Hoblit Bowen in memory of Donald Hoblit, WWII POW, with a remembrance wreath in honor of the 93,129 United States Servicemen from all branches of the service whose last known status was either prisoners of war or missing in action. These individuals have never returned to their families and homes. This wreath was presented to signify that we will not forget those of POW or MIA status. Lastly, Fort GreeneVille Chapter DAR member, Debbie Nisonger, handed the ceremonial wreath to Shannon Fritz of the Greenville City Fire Department to honor first responders during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Closing remarks were delivered by Philip Rehmert, a retired U.S. Army veteran. Rehmert reminded the crowd that the wreath laying ceremony is not intended to “decorate graves,” but rather, that each wreath, “is a gift of appreciation from a grateful America.”
“These live balsam fir wreaths symbolize our honor to those who have served and are serving in the armed forces of our great nation and to their families who endure sacrifices everyday on our behalf,” stated Rehmert. “To our children, we want you to understand the freedoms you enjoy today have not been free, but have come with a cost that someday, you may have to pay yourself. As a nation standing together, we can defeat terrorism, hatred and injustice. Thanks to our Veterans, we have the freedom to do just that.”
The Fort GreeneVille DAR would like to thank Ben Thaeler, District Director for Warren Davidson, Matt Aultman, Darke County Commissioner, and Tracy Tyron, Greenville Union Cemetery Superintendent. In addition, they would also like to thank all of their sponsors for their donations and help preparing for the event.
On behalf of the DAR, a very special thank you to Darke County residents, Richard and Katie Grow. They traveled to Columbia Falls, Maine to pick up the wreaths used at the ceremony, a 2,300-mile round trip. They delivered a total of 2500 wreaths to six locations.