West Point joins with Wreaths Across America
Story and photo by Kathy Eastwood
WEST POINT, N.Y. (Dec. 11, 2013) — More than 100 community members, cadet volunteers and the National Wreaths Across America sponsors gathered at the West Point Cemetery Dec. 7, Pearl Harbor Day, to lay holiday wreaths on more than 2,000 gravesites.
Some community members were able to place a wreath on the grave of a loved one, like Class of 2017 Cadet Taylor Endres, who honored her father, Col. Michael Endres. Family member Susan Oakley placed a wreath at the gravesite of Capt. Matthew Ferrara and 91-year-old Robert Hunt placed a wreath on a friend’s tombstone from World War II.
Class of 2014 Cadets Mark Tuttle and Brian Kloiber are from Wisconsin and volunteered to place wreaths on 1st Lt. Daren Hidalgo and 1st Lt. Nick Dewhirst gravesites, both Wisconsin natives.
“We were here last year,” Tuttle said. “This is pretty amazing that we can get everyone here. One of the few things we cadets can do is to remember the West Point graduates who lost their lives.”
Dr. Todd Crowder, associate professor in the Department of Physical Education, spoke to those gathered to remember.
“On behalf of the West Point Wreaths Across America co-leaders, we welcome you and thank you for attending this commemorative ceremony that links both West Point and Wreaths Across America initiative by collaboratively coming together today to honor and pay tribute to those laid to rest here at the West Point Cemetery,” Crowder said.
Crowder spoke about the founding of West Point and the mission to train leaders of character and forming the link with Wreaths Across America.
Cadets volunteered to place wreaths at West Point Cemetery during the Wreaths Across America event.
“1992 was the year that Morril Worcester founded Wreaths Across America,” Crowder said. “He was inspired by the men (and women) who sacrificed their lives so we can continue to live in freedom.”
Crowder directed the audience to look at one of the photos on the program.
“It has been said that pictures are worth a thousand words,” he said. The photo on top is a photo of wreaths at Arlington Cemetery in 2005. That photo immediately went viral as soon as it was taken. Today, it stands as a rallying cry, just like us today, to do something significant.”
The Wreath Across America’s mission is to coordinate wreath-laying ceremonies on specific Saturdays at Arlington Cemetery, which is Dec. 14, veterans cemeteries, and ceremonies at sea and 24 national ceremonies on foreign soil.