Town participates in ‘Wreaths Across America’ to honor veterans

Dec 18, 2021

A group of townsfolk gathered at the town green on Saturday, Dec. 18, to place a wreath at the foot of the veterans’ memorial in Center Park.  

The gray clouds and intermittent sleet on Saturday morning did nothing to deter those who wished to honor the town’s veterans by participating in National Wreaths Across America Day, which is observed annually in mid-December.

For years, the town has organized to place wreaths honoring veterans’ sacrifices at various locations throughout Wareham.

For the fourth year in a row, the Garden Club created the wreaths. 

“The Garden Club loves to make a whole variety of crafts involving live greens,” said Garden Club member Joyce Holster, who is a veteran herself. “We have a bunch that we put around town, and this is one that we put at the veterans memorial at Center Park.” 

The wreath was decorated with red, white and blue ribbons as well as a yellow ribbon and a red poppy, which traditionally symbolizes the sacrifice of those who served in World War I. 

“I love that Bob put those poppies on,” Holster said.

Along with Holster, Bob Powilatis, commander of the American Legion Post 220, and Teddy Hatch of the Wareham Elks participated in the ceremony, and Angela Dunham, president of the Wareham Historical Society, also attended — as did a few others. 

Hatch said a few words during the brief wreath-laying ceremony.

“One of the founding principles of our order states ‘so long as there are veterans, we shall never forget them,’ and with that being said, we are here to honor them all,” he said.

He noted that the Wreaths Across America tradition began in 1992, and encouraged people to visit to learn more.

“As we all navigate through this world of what we call a ‘new normal,’ whatever that may be, we must always remember all veterans,” Hatch emphasized. 

He also pointed out that the wreaths placed across the country on Dec. 18 were designed specifically to honor veterans, rather than to celebrate the holiday season.

“The wreaths originally constructed of 10 boughs of balsam tied with a red velveteen bow were entitled ‘Veterans Wreaths,’ not Christmas wreaths,” Hatch said. “We are not decorating graves, we are honoring our heroes.”

In addition to the wreath placed at the foot of the town green monument, the group also planned to take a wreath to the National Cemetery in Bourne, to be placed in front of the Hero’s Circle monument.

Powilatis thanked Holster, Sandy Slavin and the rest of the Garden Club, the Dunhams, the Wareham Elks, the American Legion, the Veterans Council and the Friends of the Wareham Veterans Council for their ongoing support.

Joyelle and Chad Tilton, who saw the event advertised on Facebook, thanked the group for allowing them to be part of the ceremony. The Tilton’s son, Colby, is in the Army and is currently based out of Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri.