Wreaths Across America Day – Riverside Cemetery Dec. 16
Nov. 27, 2023 PLYMOUTH VOICE.
Plymouth Michigan News
Every year since 2008 Congress proclaims a Saturday in December as National Wreaths Across America Day.
Once again, this year representatives from the Huron Valley Chapter – Sons of the American Revolution along with members of the Sarah Ann Cochrane Chapter – Daughters of the American Revolution will lay wreaths on the gravesides of our American veterans at Plymouth’s Riverside Cemetery.
The annual observance is synchronized with the national ceremonies as volunteers honor deceased Plymouth veterans.
The ceremony will take place at the Riverside Cemetery at noon on Dec. 16, and nationwide, as volunteers from Wreaths Across America place donated wreaths on an estimated 2 million grave sites of veterans at local, national and military cemeteries as well as veterans’ memorials and historic sites at 4,000 plus locations in all 50 U.S. states.
Wreaths Across America believes the tradition represents a living memorial that honors veterans, active-duty military, and their families.
To honor the American heroes the public is invited to attend and participate each year in the laying the wreaths made of boughs of balsam tied with red velveteen bows on the veterans’ headstones saying their name out loud, ensuring their memory lives on.
In past years local police departments have provided an Honor Guard and presented salute firing of rifle volleys, accompanied by R.O.T.C cadets and prayer of invocation. This year Mission BBQ will provide free coffee and donuts.
Elijah Shalis, President of the Huron Valley Chapter of SAR and WAA chapter leader reports his chapter has raised 61 wreaths for the Plymouth Riverside Cemetery, about $1,037. worth, and the Sarah Ann Cochrane Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution has raised 43 wreaths so far this year. So far 608 wreaths total have been raised by donors for Riverside Cemetery. Plymouth location coordinators are Arne Giummo and Sue Holznagle.
The tradition began informally in December 1992 at Arlington National Cemetery when a family who owns a wreath-making business in Maine donated leftover stock to the national cemetery. Since becoming a nonprofit corporation in 2007, Wreaths Across America covers 3,100 burial sites, including 145 of the 154 National Cemeteries.
The 142-year-old Riverside cemetery is located behind the 35th District Court on Plymouth Road west of Haggerty.
Many prominent Plymouth residents and early settlers of the area are buried at Riverside. In 1915 and 1916, several graves were moved from the Old Presbyterian Cemetery on Church Street, where the First Presbyterian Church is today. Some graves were also moved from the small Shearer Cemetery on North Territorial Road. Markers with familiar names like Starkweather, Penniman and Hough can be found on the quiet acreage.