Volunteers decorate veteran graves
Just as they have for 14 years, members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Fourth District laid wreaths at the cemetery on Fort Riley during the annual Wreaths Across America Dec. 19.
Edwin Mueller, past commander of VFW Post 1281, and co-chair af the Fourth District WAA program with Jerri McBride, said the Herington VFW has taken a lead role in the program, which happens simultaneously at more than 2,100 cemeteries in all 50 states, at sea and abroad.
The timing of the event is coordinated to start when the ceremony at Arlington Cemetery, Arlington County, Virginia.
This year the pandemic forced changes in the way the event was held, but it did not diminish its importance.
“Those are our veterans out there,” Mueller said. “There’s about 2,500 veterans buried there.”
In addition to the veterans, the Fort Riley Cemetery has gravesites for veterans’ family members, and Italian and German prisoners of war. There is also an area where those who succumbed to the pandemic of 1918, which is thought to have started at Fort Riley, are buried.
It is the graves of the soldiers that are adorned each year, right before Christmas, with a wreath.
Mueller said donations were down this year but they still had 180 wreaths to lay.
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