SUFFOLK, Va. – A holiday ceremony to honor America’s heroes is quickly approaching.
The Albert G. Horton Memorial Cemetery will participate in the Wreaths Across America Program on Saturday, December 10th.
At more than 1,100 cemeteries across the country this program is conducted before Christmas. Starting as a grass-roots project, the ceremony has spread to Arlington National Cemetery and to our local veteran cemetery in Suffolk.
Each year thousands of family members gather at the cemetery to place a wreath on the grave of their beloved veteran who is no longer here to celebrate the holiday. Horton Wreath Society President Betty Hand told News 3 "it's a feeling you cant explain; when you leave the ceremony seeing every headstone decorated with a wreath, you'll understand."
Hand's father, a World War II vet, is buried along with more than 7,000 veterans. She said she looks forward to this event every year because it is something special she can do with her mom, in memory of her dad. That is how most families feel, a sense that their family member needs to be honored and remembered during Christmas time.
Flags are posted on graves for Veteran's and Memorial Day, but Christmas brings a fresh green wreath with a red bow to bring the Christmas spirit to the burial grounds.
7,200 wreaths will be placed on headstones this year. Last year an estimated 6,000 people were in attendance for the event at Albert G. Horton Memorial.
In fact, the event has grown so much in Suffolk that guests need to be aware of parking restrictions the day of the ceremony. There will be no on-site parking. Those planning to attend need to park at Kings Fork Middle or King’s Fork High School and take a bus or shuttle to the cemetery. There will be a drop off point at the front of the cemetery and special arrangements for handicapped guests.
The transportation to and from the cemetery will run from 7:30 a.m. to the end of the event.
For more information on parking, visit Horton Wreath Society
News 3’s Rachael Cardin is the Master of Ceremonies for this year’s Wreath Laying. We will provide coverage of the event in our evening shows on Saturday.