Ridgecrest, Rand participate in ‘Wreaths Across America’

Rand includes ‘civilian war veterans’ in annual national observance

Ridgecrest, Rand participate in ‘Wreaths Across America’Last year’s ceremony in the Rand District Cemetery — Photo courtesy of Shandon Hanson

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The Rand District Cemetery in Johannesburg will join cemeteries across the country for the annual Wreaths Across America on Saturday, Dec. 15, at 9 a.m.

Along with other cemeteries across the country, including Desert Memorial Park in Ridgecrest, volunteers will lay ceremonial wreaths in recognition of those who have served this country and are now deceased.

In Rand volunteers also pay homage to veterans not recognized elsewhere.

“The U.S. civilian war veterans are recognized here by a special wreath made by Shandon Hanson and Greg Frazier of Randsburg,” said a spokesperson.

“Unknown to most folks, the majority of U.S. troops serving in combat theaters today are in fact civilian warfighters. Also little known is the fact that the number of U.S. personnel killed in action since 9-11 includes more civilian than military casualities. As civilian warfighters and civilian war veterans are not recognized for their service anywhere in the United States, the organizers of the Rand District Cemetery event have seen to it that their service is remembered at this event,” continued the spokersperson.

“This has been a tradition in the Rand since the first ceremony in 2013. The first Americans to serve in combat were civilians, and civilians have served in every U.S. conflict to this day. Here, they are not forgotten.”

In Ridgecrest the Panamint Springs Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution are bringing the observance to Desert Memorial Park for the first time.

“The Wreaths Across America program, strives to ensure that the lives of our men and women in uniform are remembered,” said Kelly McDonald of DAR, who is also serving as the site coordinator.

“We believe it is our responsibility as Americans to be their witnesses and to share their stories of service and sacrifice with the next generation.”

Any individual can sponsor a wreath for a $15 tax-deductible donation. DAR members and volunteers will ensure that a wreath is placed on the grave of each of the veterans buried in the local cemetery.

The theme for this year’s observance is “Be Their Witness,” which comes from the 2009 drama “Taking Chance.”

Those interested in volunteering can contact McDonald at 760-793-7360 or panamintspringsdar@ gmail.com.

Those wishing to donate a wreath can do so at www.wreathsaccrossamerica.org/CA0399P.

Story First Published: 2018-12-14