SWFL cemeteries observe National Wreaths Across America Day

Reporter: Breana Ross Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:
Wreaths laid down on the graves of Southwest Florida veterans for National Wreaths Across America Day Saturday, Dec. 14, 2019.

“Remember our fallen U.S. veterans. Honor those who serve. Teach your children the value of freedom.”

That’s the motto of Wreaths Across America. Friends and neighbors gathered across Southwest Florida Saturday to fulfill that motto and laid wreaths on the graves of fallen soldiers for National Wreaths Across America Day.

Community members saluted those who lived lives of service with the promise to never forget.

“We don’t want any of them to be forgotten because they deserve to live on,” said Jill Davidson, the location coordinator for Lee County Wreaths Across America.

At the Coral Ridge Funeral Home Cemetery ceremony in Cape Coral, volunteers of all ages attended the event to pay tribute to some of the cemeteries’ 3,000 fallen soldier, placing a wreath on their graves and taking time to whisper each name.

“It’s amazing that in our small community there’s that many people that want to give back to people that gave for us,” volunteer Betty Brady said.

Cape Coral Mayor Joe Coviello said the event served as an important reminder for all Americans about what veterans mean to our freedoms.

“They honor, they remember, and they teach what it’s all about to serve our country and be a fallen hero,” Coviello said.

Nearly 2,000 cemeteries participated in National Wreaths Across America Day in the U.S., at sea and abroad.

Autumn Rhodes, with Civil Air Patrol’s Charlotte County Squadron, was at the Cape Coral event and moved by the experience.

“Seeing all these people who have served and have given their lives for our country, it’s really inspiring because it’s what I want to do,” Rhodes said.

It was equally humbling for veteran Juan Cordero, who has already lived a life of service.

“I tell them, ‘Thank you for your service,’” said Cordero, who served in the U.S. Army. “And, one day, I’ll be hopefully here.”

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