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Wreaths for veterans

Sandusky Register - 12/25/2017

SANDUSKY - Veterans and their families placed wreaths Saturday on the graves of soldiers at the Ohio Veterans Home who died in the service of their country.

The Lake Erie Shores Blue Star Moms organized the laying of more than 900 wreaths as part of the national Wreaths Across America event.

Blue Star Moms is a federally chartered nonprofit organization to support the nation's armed forces and its veterans. The Lake Erie Shores chapter serves the communities of Erie, Huron and Sandusky counties.

A ceremony took place beforehand to introduce members from each military branch who would place a wreath on the memorials and to recognize the service of military personnel.

"It's often said a person dies twice: once when they stop breathing, and again when they are no longer remembered," said Cheri Spurlock, a Blue Star Mom member and a Wreaths Across America location coordinator. "These wreaths are symbols to those who served or who are serving that we remember their sacrifice."

After the ceremony, the volunteers walked outside and placed wreaths on the graves of men and women who died serving their country. The wreaths would normally be placed on the older graves first, but not this year.

"We started at the newer graves this year, because those families are still mourning their loss," Spurlock said. "This is for them, too, so they know people care about their sacrifice. I have a daughter who's a veteran, and it's nice to know her service will be remembered."

The volunteers were encouraged to say the veteran's name aloud and to thank them for their sacrifice after placing the wreath.

"All these veterans here have given their lives in service for their country," Army veteran Ralph Bago said. "We're out here to honor them and make sure they're not forgotten."

Funds for the wreaths came from community donations, with $15 paying for one wreath.

Spurlock hopes in the future to be able to place a wreath at every single grave of the more than 3,000 veterans buried at the home.

Reach reporter Michael Harrington at michaelharrington@sanduskyregister.com, follow the Register at Facebook.com/SanduskyRegister


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