Friday, June 28, 2019

Everlasting Gratitude Wreath Program: A summer reflection

By Dave Tanguay

I spend time each spring and again in early winter walking the cemeteries of Windham. During my walk I check to see that each veteran grave has been remembered with an American Flag prior to Memorial Day and, for the last six years, the placement of a wreath on some 900 graves in the cemeteries in Windham. 

Financial donations are always needed
to remember our fallen soldiers
While walking the lanes, I recall a book by John Dunning, a memoir with a subtitle that states, “You’re not dead until you’re forgotten”.  As I check the graves, I reflect on the fact that many of these veterans have been forgotten. If it were not for the local veterans, scout groups and other volunteers that place the flags or the wreaths on the graves, no one would have visited their graves or remembered these men and women who defended our country.  

Many of the gravestones are in poor shape and are slowly being overtaken by the earth surrounding them. Some are broken into pieces, some fallen over, some now unreadable. All, however, mark the last resting place of one of our fallen soldiers. If not for the volunteer visits, no one would remember their name.

I mention these visits because there is an opportunity for the Windham community to help this process of remembering.  Each year, the local VFW and Legion Post act as agents of the town to place flags on the graves of our Veterans. In the late fall, around December 1st, the local veterans also remember those vets with the placement of a wreath on the graves. The Program, Everlasting Gratitude, was initially started by Studio Flora and is now coordinated by American Legion Field-Allen Post and ALA Unit 148.

The Post is now accepting donations to support the “Everlasting Gratitude Wreath Program” for the coming year. Typically, a wreath with bow costs approximately $5 in volume. The Post will need 900 -1000 wreaths this year. A donation on your part of $25 will purchase approximately five wreaths and bows, $50 approximately ten wreaths, etc. Your donation, no matter how small, will go a long way to help the “Everlasting Gratitude Wreath Program”, remembering our veterans so that their names are not forgotten. We Remember! 

Donations can be made to: Field-Allen Wreaths, PO Box 1776. Windham, Maine 04062

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