The Vernon community honored Veterans on Saturday morning by participating in Wreaths Across America.
The goal of Wreaths Across America is to place a wreath on each hero’s grave all across America. Christopher Wynne and Michael Webb from Troop 283 shared Emcee duties. Those in attendance were reminded that they can worship as they wish, travel about the country and can vote for whomever they want largely because of those that have served to keep us safe and free.
The dedication started with a moment of silence, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance and a beautiful rendition of The Star-Spangled Banner.
Guest Speaker was Vernon Township Mayor Harry Shortway. As he began, he said he would be “speaking from the heart.”
Shortway told a touching story of ‘Joe’ and how all the parents thought ‘Joe’ was a terrible father and didn’t take care of his children because he drank a lot. After ‘Joe’ died, many learned of his bravery during battle, having been a grenade thrower and saving many lives, even “getting hit in the helmet with a bullet but kept going.”
Turned out ‘Joe’ earned a purple heart but drank to overcome the many inner demeans he had due to his time spent in the war.
“It is our duty to help," Shortway said. "All 6 of ‘Joe’s’ kids grew up and were successful because of the love shown by a father.”
Shortway encouraged all in attendance to seek help if they are struggling or know someone who is struggling.
Miss Vernon Hannah Van Blarcom also spoke and thanked veterans across America. Van Blarcom previously spearheaded efforts to get Veteran Parking Only signs at the Vernon Township Municipal Center, Veterans Memorial Park and Maple Grange Park.
Vernon High school Senior Bryce Grier played Taps with his trumpet immediately following the gun salute.
Dedication wreaths were presented for service members that are missing in action or prisoners of war, and for the Marine Corps, Merchant Marines, Coast Guard, Navy, Airforce, and Army. Then, each veteran’s life was honored as the community placed a wreath upon the grave, said the Veteran’s name and followed with a “thank you.”