Wreaths Across America returns to the National Cemetery of the Alleghenies

CECIL TOWNSHIP, Pa. — Thousands of volunteers came out to the National Cemetery of the Alleghenies on Saturday afternoon for this year’s Wreaths Across America ceremony.

Family members of those laid to rest joined the American Legion, local scouts, and community members in placing 15,000 wreaths on each individual grave — a token of appreciation for the 23,000 buried on these grounds in Cecil Township.

“I’m really excited to be putting a wreath on my Pap’s grave today. He just passed recently, in October. He was a member of the Army and was a wonderful man, so I’m really looking forward to remembering his great life,” said Ashley Schmider of South Fayette.

“This is also to teach a younger generation what it costs to be free,” Ed Hajduk, director of the National Cemetery of the Alleghenies.

Volunteers said for the last few years, the events surrounding Wreaths Across America Day were spread out over several days, due to the pandemic, so this was the first ceremony since 2019.

“I was kind of surprised because we haven’t had it in two years. A lot of people did show up, with the snow and the cold, to take time out of their busy lives to come here to help us honor these veterans,” said Bonnie Wishner. “My great-uncle Joe is buried here. He was actually in the Korean War.”

“Very proud … as a veteran, it’s very humbling,” said Ed Zimmerman. “It’s amazing the support they have here for it. I’m just honored to be part of it.”

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