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Darien Honors Veterans With Wreaths Across America Ceremony

Veteran John Driscoll and Boy Scout Michael Parkhurst lay one of seven ceremonial wreaths in honor of the different branches of the armed services at the Wreaths Across America ceremony in Darien. Photo Credit: Casey Donahue
Veteran Lenny Hunter, accompanied by boy scout John Parkhurst, salutes a ceremonial wreath laid in honor of the U.S. Coast Guard. Photo Credit: Casey Donahue
The Coastal Chordsmen Chorus sang many songs, including holiday favorites and the national anthem. Photo Credit: Casey Donahue
Phil Kraft leads the ceremony at Spring Grove Cemetery. Photo Credit: Casey Donahue
Alice Ridgeway, Connecticut state vice regent of the Daughters of the American Revolution, and Katherine Love, regent of the Good Wife's River chapter of the DAR, hand David Polett a remembrance wreath in honor of POW and MIA soldiers. Photo Credit: Casey Donahue
David Bayne lays a wreath at the grave of a veteran during Darien's ceremony. Photo Credit: Casey Donahue
Darien volunteers lay wreaths and pause to reflect during the Wreaths Across America ceremony. Photo Credit: Casey Donahue
The seven ceremonial wreaths in honor of veterans from the Army, the Marine Corps, the Navy, the Air Force, the Coast Guard, the merchant marine and those who are POWs or MIAs. Photo Credit: Casey Donahue
Darien First Selectman Jayme Stevenson lays several wreaths on the graves of veterans. Photo Credit: Casey Donahue
Wreaths laid out across graves of veterans at Spring Grove Cemetery. Photo Credit: Casey Donahue

DARIEN, Conn. – Darien joined other communities across the nation in honoring veterans Saturday with a Wreaths Across America ceremony at Spring Grove Cemetery.

Wreaths Across America, an organization that began in 1992, pays tribute to veterans each holiday season. In cemeteries across the country and overseas, simultaneous ceremonies are held and wreaths are laid on the graves of veterans to honor their service. The leaders of Wreaths Across America travel each year from Maine to Arlington National Cemetery, where a national ceremony is held.

A total of 951 wreaths were laid at Spring Grove Cemetery by volunteers led by the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Good Wife’s River Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, the Darien Monuments and Ceremonies Commission, the Darien High School Support Our Soldiers group, Darien Boy Scout Troops 35 and 53, and Darien Youth Hockey.

“The freedoms we enjoy today have not come without a price. Lying here before us and in cemeteries throughout this nation are men and women who gave their lives so that we can live in freedom and without fear,” said Darien VFW head Phil Kraft, who led the ceremony Saturday.

Kraft encouraged those gathered to thank veterans whenever they meet one. He also suggested that those laying wreaths on graves should take a moment to write down the names of the veterans who are buried there, and research them later to learn more about them.

“Many of you here are veterans of wars and conflicts that America has had to fight to protect the innocent and the oppressed,” Kraft said. “American has always been the first nation to stand up for freedom of people from around the world. Many of you here today have answered that call and served your country well. We are here today to say thank you and we are honored to know you.”

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