Veterans remembered in Wreaths Across America event in North Charleston

The Richardson family laid a wreath on their husband, father's grave (Source: Live 5)
The Richardson family laid a wreath on their husband, father's grave (Source: Live 5)

NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - While thousands of volunteers from across the country traveled to Arlington National Cemetery for National Wreaths Across America Day, there where hundreds of people who remembered our veterans locally.

The American Legion Rider Post 166 Goose Creek Chapter held its own event at the Carolina Memorial Cemetery in North Charleston Saturday.

Only the sound of motorcycles could be heard as bikers with the group and other clubs led the way ahead of the truck carrying the famous wreaths.

More than 800 wreaths from Columbia Falls, Maine were shipped to South Carolina for the Riders' annual event.

"It's a beautiful smell, and even when they transferred them over there was snow on the boxes from one truck to the next," said Denise Breland, who placed a wreath on her father's grave.

Now in its third year, organizers said the number of people who want to get involved continues to grow. It's not just adults getting involved, but also young children who are learning about Wreaths Across America's mission of "Remember, Honor, Teach".

"The boy scouts and girls scouts [are out here], and I want them to remember what sacrifices were made by the people who are actually buried up here," said Bruce Richburg, the Director of the American Legion Riders Post 166 Goose Creek.

"It's so great to so many people out here, especially young people who are learning about what has happened and why we are here," said Joe Cammarota, with the Charleston Composite Squadron Civil Air Patrol.

"This is very meaningful to the veterans to show them respect," said Gloria Hill, who purchased four wreaths this year in memory of her loved ones.

More than 200 people who were volunteers, fellow veterans and family members laid wreaths on veteran's graves in the Garden of Valor in remembrance of them.

"You've got total strangers laying wreaths on people they don't even know," said Clayton Richardson, who was there to remember his father. "It's just comradery of everybody coming together."

"No veteran should be forgotten at Christmas, or anytime for that matter," Richburg said.

The Richardson family has taken part in the event for two years now.

They purchase a wreath in memory of their husband and father who served in the Navy.

"He would be proud," said Mabel Richardson. "He thoroughly enjoyed his military life."

While the holiday season isn't always easy for the family, they said they find a way to put one foot in front of the other.

"You keep the memories alive," Breland said. "You show your pictures, you share them, talk with each other, try to stay as a family."

"And you come down to see dad," Christopher said.

The ceremony involved a 21-gun salute along with the playing of TAPS.

Placing wreaths on veteran's graves in Arlington National Cemetery started in 1992 when a Maine wreath company, Worcester Wreath, found themselves with a surplus of wreaths near the end of the holiday season. After a collaborative effort, those wreaths made their way to Arlington, leading to an annual tradition thousands of people take part in. To read more on the tradition, click here.

Copyright 2017 WCSC. All rights reserved.