Each year, at cemeteries overseas and all across America, including Mountain Home, Wreaths Across America volunteers place wreaths on veterans’ graves in December. As has been noted before, we have Memorial Day in the spring, and Veterans Day in the fall. But our servicemen and women continue to sacrifice their time and safety every day of the year to guard and preserve our freedom.

While we observe Memorial Day 2021, please remember all of the Veterans who have fought and died to keep America free; such as those who stormed the beaches at Normandy and who parachuted into occupied France on June 6, 1944.

Nearly 160,000 troops crossed the English Channel that day. But 90 percent of the soldiers on the first boats to hit the beach didn’t live to see the end of the day.

Imagine their faces as the landing boat ramps dropped, and water splashed around them as bullets exploded the sand. Some of them never made it to age 18. Never voted. Never loved a woman, had a family, or owned a home.

They paid the ultimate price for our freedom. We live our lives the way we do because of them and many more like them who sacrificed everything for us.

For example, six U.S. Marines raised the American flag on Iwo Jima. But nearly 7,000 Marines died to pave the way. The names, photos and short bios of those six can be found online. The names of the 7,000 are lost in the fog of time.

Freedom isn’t free. That is why we come together each year to remember the fallen…honor those who still serve…and teach our children the value of the freedoms they enjoy. This remains the overall mission of Wreaths Across America.

The wreaths we place to honor the veterans at Mountain Home are not provided by the VA. They are provided and paid for by many local businesses and families who want to remember our veterans.

For last year’s wreath placement, there was a bit of a bottleneck in getting folks out into the cemetery, as we were under a directive from the National Cemetery Administration to limit contact/exposure, etc. Some other locations were limited to 30 people a day, or the wreath placements were spread over two or three days. We started off using Plan A with a touch of Plan C…which evolved into Plan K along the way.

But the overall response from the public in coming out to help place the wreaths was fantastic. There were five or six JROTC units, several members of a local ladies club, families with children, veterans groups… the response was really amazing.

It is a huge undertaking to honor the veterans buried at Mountain Home National Cemetery, as there are approximately 17,000 Veterans buried there. For only $15, a non-designated wreath to honor a veteran can be sponsored online at https://www.wreathsacrossamerica.org/tnmhnm. Or, to support one of our several local sponsor groups, click the “Groups” tab at the top.

To donate a wreath for a specific veteran, you must sponsor through one of our partner groups: call Scott Foster at (423) 741-9934 or Pete Headley at (423) 926-2233.

All sponsorships are tax-deductible.