Wreaths Across America ceremony slated in Dover


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Rep. Earl Jaques, D-Glasgow, from left, Holy Cross Elementary students Kimberly Seeney, Aly Ditchkus, Joselyn Southers and Rep. Bruce Ennis, D-Smyrna, laid the ceremonial wreath in 2014 at the memorial honoring Delawareans who died during the Revolutionary War. Dave Skocik, far left, president of the Delaware Veterans Coalition, will give the welcome at the public ceremony set for Dec. 7 at Legislative Hall on Dec. 7. (Delaware State News file)

DOVER — The Delaware General Assembly will host its second annual Wreaths Across America ceremony at Legislative Hall Dec. 7.

State House ceremonies in all 50 states and Washington D.C., are part of a weeklong celebration of America’s veterans and their service to the nation, with a particular focus on family during the holidays.

The wreaths program’s mission of “Remember, Honor, Teach” “spreads the message of the importance of remembering our fallen heroes, honoring those who serve, and teaching our children about the sacrifices made by veterans and their families to preserve our freedoms,” said Lori Christiansen, event coordinator.

The program originated with Morrill Worcester, owner of a wreath-making company in Maine who in 1991 donated and delivered wreaths to Arlington National Cemetery to be placed on the graves of the fallen.

Dave Skocik, president of the Delaware Veterans Coalition, will deliver the welcome at the public ceremony. A moment of silence will honor the survivors and the fallen at Pearl Harbor.

The ceremony, at 11:30 a.m., also will acknowledge Delaware Day. Since 1933, the governors of Delaware have proclaimed Dec. 7 as Delaware Day in honor of that day in 1787 when Delaware became the first state to ratify the Federal Constitution, making Delaware the first state in the New Nation.

Historical re-enactor Tom Welch will portray Delaware’s Revolutionary War hero Allan McLane with a brief reading before the wreath-laying ceremony.

Others who will participate include the Commission of Veterans Affairs; Eagle Cadet Squadron 007 of the Civil Air Patrol; state and local elected officials; Dover Air Force Base Chaplain Quentin Genke; Veterans of Foreign Wars State Color Guard and children from Holy Cross Elementary school.

Wreaths will be laid at three locations: the Dover Light Infantry Memorial Wreath by Maj. Gen. Frank Vavala; the World War II Memorial by World War II veteran Cornelius C. “Bill” Carroll; and at the Medal of Honor Memorial by William C. Farley, vice chair of the Delaware Commission of Veterans Affairs.

Larence Kirby, executive director of the Delaware Commission of Veterans Affairs, will place a wreath at the new Gulf War memorial, dedicated Nov. 7.

“Laying these wreaths honors the sacrifices of the fallen,” said Rep. Earl Jaques, D-Glasgow, chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee.

“Delaware is proud to participate in this program by joining similar ceremonies at the capitals in all 50 states, as well as at Arlington and all veterans cemeteries,” said Sen. Bruce Ennis, D-Smyrna, chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee.

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