Missouri Wing Civil Air Patrol (CAP) members throughout the greater St. Louis area invite people to sponsor remembrance wreaths for placement on the graves of veterans on Dec. 15 at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery.
Wreath sponsorship starts at $15; orders need to be submitted by Nov. 26. Sponsors can designate where the wreaths will be laid in the local community.
For the seventh year in a row, Wildwood resident David Miller will officiate the ceremony at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery at 11 a.m. on Dec. 15. Lt. Col. Miller is director of public affairs, Missouri Wing, Civil Air Patrol, U.S. Air Force Auxiliary.
The St. Louis CAP squadron’s efforts coincide with Wreath Across America tributes occurring simultaneously across the nation, including Arlington National Cemetery, where the initiative began 20 years ago with the placement of 5,000 wreaths donated by Morrell Worcester, owner of Harrington, Maine’s Worcester Wreath Co., according to a CAP news release.
In 2006, Worcester and his family formed Wreaths Across America, a nonprofit initiative that recognizes the courage and sacrifices of U.S. veterans by placing wreaths on the graves of the fallen during the year-end holiday season.
As a major partner in Wreaths Across America for seven Decembers now, CAP director of public affairs Miller said the local group has adorned memorials and veterans’ graves with evergreen wreaths to make sure the sacrifices of the nation’s soldiers are not forgotten. Last year, members of the public sponsored the placement of more than 325,000 wreaths at 700-plus cemetery or memorial sites across the U.S. and abroad. More than 600 CAP squadrons participated in last year’s Wreaths Across America ceremonies, in which wreaths were placed at cemeteries and memorials in all 50 states, as well as 20 locations overseas, he said.
Individual, family and corporate sponsorships are available. Miller said when ordering wreaths to use group identification number “MOCAP098” and location identification code “MOJBNS”.
Wreaths Across America ceremonies are conducted largely by CAP wings and squadrons with the help of veterans’ organizations, private citizens, the Maine State Society of Washington, D.C. (which annually assists with the laying of wreaths at Arlington), and the Patriot Guard Riders, stated Miller.
The Missouri Wing of the Civil Air Patrol is composed of 1,000plus members organized in almost 40 squadrons located throughout the state.
Miller said Civil Air Patrol, the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, is a nonprofit organization with more than 61,000 members nationwide, operating a fleet of 550 aircraft. CAP, in its Air Force auxiliary role, performs 90 percent of continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center and was credited by the AFRCC with saving 54 lives in fiscal year 2011. Its volunteers also perform homeland security, disaster relief and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies. The members play a leading role in aerospace education and serve as mentors to nearly 27,000 young people currently participating in the CAP cadet programs. CAP received the World Peace Prize in 2011 and has been performing missions for America for 70 years.