WARREN, Pa. – The Blue Star Mothers of Kinzua PA 203 ensured that Warren County would participate this year in a national day honoring the lives of fallen US service members.
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Blue Star Mothers hosted a Wreaths Across America ceremony at St. Joseph’s Cemetary on Saturday, with more than 400 wreaths brought in for the event. Wreaths were also placed at cemeteries in Sugar Grove and Tidioute.
“Today, we do not honor their death, we do that on Memorial Day,” Blue Star Mothers President Skyla Govier said. “Today, we honor their dash, the dash between their birthday and their death. We honor their lives. We honor their sacrifice and service to our country.”
The ceremony was held inside the mausoleum at St. Joseph’s Cemetary. Attendees then took wreaths and placed them on veterans’ graves. Each person was asked to say the veteran’s name as they placed the wreath.
“Ernest Hemingway said every man has two deaths when he is buried in the ground, and the last time someone says his name,” Govier said. “Today we say their names. So these heroes are never forgotten.”
US Navy veteran Patrick Conquer spoke about the meaning of the sacrifice made by those veterans interred at St. Joseph’s.
“The freedoms we enjoy today have not come without a price,” Conquer said. “In cemeteries throughout this nation are men and women who gave their lives so that we can live with freedom and without fear.”
City of Warren Mayor Dave Wortman served as the keynote speaker. He shared a brief history of his family’s service, dating back to World War I, with most of those family members laid to rest at St. Joseph’s Cemetary.
“The Wreaths Across America is a beautiful and honorable way for us to remember our loved ones and all the veterans who may no longer have somebody in their lives, family and friends to remember them during this Christmas holiday season,” Wortman said. “So again, I’d like to thank the Blue Star Mothers, St. Joseph Cemetery, and all the volunteers and organizations here today that have made this day possible. For your efforts to bring Wreaths Across America is a beautiful thing for this community. I hope that we can only just continue to build on such success.”
Wreaths Across America is held every December, with Congress designating one Saturday as Wreaths Across America Day.