Community Spotlight: Wreaths For The Fallen Honors Over 5,000 Veterans
Each year, an organization based out of Baxter works to honor fallen veterans around the holidays. This year, 5,000 wreaths were laid on the resting places of veterans at the Minnesota State Veterans Cemetery in Little Falls.
“We’re very fortunate; Wreaths for the Fallen, a nonprofit out of Baxter, Minnesota, they raise money every year through private donations and then they place a wreath at every headstone at the cemetery,” said Erik Sogge, the Minnesota State Veterans Cemetery in Little Falls Administrator.
Early in the morning, three semi-trucks arrived filled with Christmas wreaths. The memorial wreaths are made possible through donations by family and friends of fallen veterans.
“We get contributions from every state including Hawaii and Alaska. I’ve talked to some couples up in Alaska and they just express their feelings how wonderful it is to know that their son is going to be honored today,” explained Wreaths for the Fallen President John Thomas.
The event brought out families of fallen veterans and also those who just wanted to show their support.
“Our parents are buried out here. It’s just a great thing to see how many people really honor the veterans in the area, and they might not have anybody out here and they still honor them,” said Julie Lambrecht, who attended with her family.
Wreaths for the Fallen started in 2006 when 50 wreaths were placed at the cemetery.
“That increased to a hundred and then two hundred. Each year, it kept getting bigger and bigger and bigger,” added Thomas.
Wreaths for the Fallen offers families who may live across the country or close by to honor their fallen veteran.
“I think it’s important that we don’t forget our veterans. Not that we have, but it’s just one more way to show how much we appreciate the veterans. But also for the families it’s important. We do get a lot more visitors around certain holidays especially around Christmas,” said Sogge. “So it’s just nice for them to be able to come out to recognize their family members.”
Wreaths for the Fallen takes place every year on the third Saturday in December at the Minnesota State Veterans Cemeteries in Little Falls, Duluth, and Preston.