The wet and windy morning did not deter participation in the annual Wreaths Across America commemoration event in Sulphur Springs City Cemetery and Mel Haven Cemetery on Saturday December 18, 2021. In fact, more than 800 hundred wreaths were placed by volunteers upon the marked graves of veterans within the vast cemetery in an amazingly short period of time. Other Hopkins County cemeteries which held observances were Black Oak, Gaffords Chapel, Shooks Chapel, Pickton, Winterfield, Greenview and Union Cemeteries plus Old Saltillo Cemetery.
2021 is the fourth year of Hopkins County participation in the nationwide Wreaths Across America at City Cemetery, and the first year that the event was begun indoors. Due to weather, participants gathered inside the Myra Wilson Chapel for the Pledge of Allegiance, prayer and explanation of the “Remember, Honor and Teach” mission. Following the placing of wreaths onto stands representing each branch of the military including the most newly-added branch, participants moved outdoors. The identical live fir wreaths, each with a brilliant red bow, had been stacked in stations around the cemetery, and volunteers simply took armfuls and went in search of the flags marking the graves of veterans. At each grave, a solemn moment was observed. Setting their burden down, one wreath was selected, placed lovingly onto the grave marker and the soldier’s name spoken aloud, adding ‘thank you for your service’ or other meaningful honor. Families with children had the opportunity to teach by guiding their young ones in the process, and answering questions about the meaning of the day of remembrance in the local cemetery. Also, several children and youth served roles during the public ceremony held indoors.
The 11am ceremony was opened with a prayer led by local veteran Gordon Payne, the Pledge of Allegiance led by young Heidi Northcutt, the National Anthem sung by Alina Tatum, and a Welcome given by Hon. Eddie Northcutt, 8th Judicial District Judge of Hopkins County. Next was the placing of wreaths representing various branches of service. Jakson Medelline of SSHS band closed the ceremony with taps.
You can view the Chan 18TV video of the event on KSST Youtube. From organizer Dena Loyd, a thank you is sent out to all the donors and volunteers who support Wreaths Across America at Sulphur Springs City Cemetery. To donate or make contact, please go online to wreathsacrossamerica.org/TX0613. The TX0613 is essential to direct donations to the local fund. Or contact Dena Loyd at [email protected] for additional information.