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Three women braved the wind, rain and cold Monday, Dec. 15, to place Christmas wreaths at each of the 49 grave sites at Kentucky Veterans Cemetery North in Williamstown.
The show of gratitude was a part of Wreaths Across America, a non-profit organization that began more than 15 years ago when Worcester Wreath Company started placing wreaths on the headstones of fallen heroes at Arlington National Cemetery.
The tradition continues today as the Civil Air Patrol, the Patriot Guard Riders and other civic organizations place wreaths during a special observance at each of the more than 230 state and national cemeteries and Veterans monuments nationwide. Ceremonies also took place at Kentucky’s two other veterans cemeteries in Hopkinsville and Radcliff.
Williamstown resident Brenda Zaccheus, whose husband, retired Army Sgt. 1st Class Dennis Narramore, was buried at the cemetery in September, asked her daughter to check into the program after hearing about it on the news.
With the cemetery being open for less than four months, Newport resident Jennifer Zaccheus learned that a ceremony would not be conducted locally until next year.
“We wanted to do it, but we wanted to do it right,” said Alvin Duncan, director of the Veterans Cemetery. “Since it was such a late start, I was just going to skip it completely this year. That way we would start fresh beginning of the year and the (Grant County High School) Junior ROTC would have all year to raise the funds and we could do it right with the complete full ceremony next year. To me, it’s about taking care of the veterans.”
Jennifer decided to take matters in her own hands and attempt to raise the money to purchase the wreaths.
“I came to find out I had a week to raise the money,” she said. “It was a lot of pressure, but we got it done. I bugged every American Legion and V.F.W. in the tri-state area. I went one night and the next night on bingo night. I work in a law office so I bugged every single attorney that I knew.”
Jennifer, who raised $850, is still receiving calls about donations.
Any money donated now will be used to purchase wreaths next Christmas.
“It’s important that they’re honored,” Jennifer said. “It’s important that they’re remembered, especially during the holidays. It’s really hard for my mom right now. It means a lot to her and it means a lot to me.”
Brenda, who will be buried alongside her husband at the cemetery, said she is proud of her daughter for all of her hard work and dedication.
“I’m just amazed that she was able to raise so much money in such a short amount of time,” she said. “I was quite impressed. When she find out that it was too late this year, she didn’t just say we’ll wait until next year. She just said she would try to raise the money.”
“I think the families will be touched,” Brenda said. “I think it means a lot. The fact that it happens all across America is a big thing.”
Dry Ridge resident Geneva Seal, who buried her husband, William Bruce Seal of the U.S. Navy, in the cemetery in November, also placed the wreaths.
“I think they’re beautiful,” she said. “I think it really adds to the cemetery. It’s really nice. Although it was raining, I still enjoyed doing it. Something like this gets me up from sitting around thinking about him.”