Americans, regardless of their faith, share the blessings of liberty and the ability to celebrate the holiday season in his or her own way, if at all. That right has been preserved by the sacrifices of the men and women who have worn the uniform of our Armed Forces for more than two hundred years.
On National Wreaths Across America Day, Americans honor thousands of our deceased Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines, by placing a wreath on their final resting place. This act of respect and remembrance is carried out at over 1,100 locations in all fifty states, at sea and abroad.
I received a heartwarming message and beautiful photographs from one Wreaths Across America volunteer, Sally Arden, who placed a wreath at the grave of Clarence “Raymond” Stephenson, at Ironton, Ohio’s Woodland Cemetery. Raymond perished on his and his beloved wife Helen’s first wedding anniversary, while piloting his B-17 on a mission during World War II. It was also Helen’s 19th birthday. It was my honor and privilege to tell their story.
On behalf of Raymond, Helen and their families, I want to express our collective gratitude to Ms. Arden for her kindness, and thank all of the Wreaths Across America volunteers for remembering those to whom we all owe a debt of gratitude.