LIBERTY TOWNSHIP — More than 100 holiday wreaths with bright red ribbons lie on the graves of veterans at the Montandon Cemetery near Milton.
For the past seven years, wreaths have been put on veterans’ graves around the holidays in central Pennsylvania in honor of National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.
“As the World War II generation passes away, we find that there are fewer remembrances of that very important day in our nation’s history,” said John Deppen, acting chairman of Wreaths for Warriors.
The wreaths were put on veterans’ graves over the weekend. There are more than 1,200 wreaths on the graves of veterans in Snyder, Union and Northumberland counties.
“We have placed wreaths on veterans’ graves from the Revolutionary War all the way up to our current conflicts,” Deppen added.
The group is called Wreaths for Warriors. Kohl’s Stony Hill Tree Farm near Milton made the wreaths and sold them to Wreaths for Warriors at a low cost. Owner Stanley Kohl also donated additional wreaths. Kohl says it took his staff about two weeks to put the wreaths together.
“These soldiers, a lot of them are forgotten about even by their own family members,” Kohl said. “Here these strangers are, basically, going out and remembering them. It’s just the small part that we can do to help.”
John Deppen is the acting chairman of Wreaths for Warriors. He says there are not enough wreaths to decorate every veteran’s grave, but through donations, the group is able to put wreaths on more and more each year.
“We know that Arlington and Gettysburg are considered hallowed ground. But we like to think of small cemeteries like this as hallowed ground as well,” he said.