Thousands of wreaths keep memory of veterans alive

Ian Thibodeau
The Detroit News

Clinton Township — U.S. veterans couldn’t take a break when the weather turned sour around the world, nor could an overnight snowstorm deter hundreds who came to Resurrection Cemetery in Clinton Township Saturday to honor those veterans.

The crowd was there to distribute 2,400 wreaths at the thousands of veteran grave sites through the cemetery as part of the national Wreaths Across America Day. Those who organized the event at Resurrection said it was the cemetery’s largest since it began hosting the event in 2011.

Retired Army Col. Patricia Sellers spoke to the crowd gathered at the cemetery’s American Veterans’ Memorial plaza before a rifle salute and a laying of wreaths to honor branches of the American military.

She said it is important to remember all those men and women who fought for the freedom enjoyed by Americans.

“Say their names as you place the wreaths on the grave site today,” she said.

Betty Clara laid the first wreath at the grave site of her husband, Jerry, who was a retired veteran.

“He was a great man,” she said.

Workers had marked veteran graves throughout the cemetery with small American flags. When volunteers from local Boy Scout troops and veterans groups, and others looking to honor veterans set out to distribute the wreaths, flags peppered the snow-covered plots.

Frank Oldani, director of family services at the cemetery, said he offers grave sites at half price to the families of fallen veterans.

But before the crowd broke to lay out the wreaths, 7-year-old Logan Rewitzer stood in front of his parents holding a flag and a salute as the Star Spangled Banner played.

He was part of one of the Scout troops in attendance.

Steven Rewitzer and Ann Chapman, his parents, both have family members serving in the military. Saturday was the firs time they attended the Wreaths Across America event.

“We just wanted to come out and honor our veterans,” Rewitzer said. “This was very nice.”

Wreath-laying ceremonies were held at Arlington National Cemetery and roughly 1,100 other locations around the country Saturday.

Twitter: @Ian_Thibodeau