COPENHAGEN — The veterans wreath is said to be a symbol of honor, respect and victory. And, one local student is paying tribute to hundreds of locally buried soldiers this holiday season.
Jamie Mendelson is a senior at Sackets Harbor Central School whose father recently retired from service with the military. She started the wreath project to pay tribute to all veterans.
“This is a program for veterans and my goal is to have more than 270 wreaths to place on tombstones at Sackets Harbor Military Cemetery this December,” she said.
Jamie is working with family friend Shari L. Simmons of Simmons Farm in Copenhagen to build hundreds of wreaths “at cost” for the upcoming ceremony.
“Today, we are making the wreaths, we are very busy here,” Jamie said last Sunday. “Each layer of the wreath has a special meaning, and each wreath is very special,” she added.
There are 10 bouquets of greenery to represent the soldiers’ faith, love, strength, honesty, humility, ambitions, optimism, concern, pride, hope and dreams. The final bouquet, hope and dreams, is said to represent what the soldier may not have been able to accomplish although having lived with no regrets.
The red bow is said to represent the great sacrifice of the soldier with its circular shape representing eternity.
Mrs. Simmons said, “I have always had interest in a project like this and I would never have the time to organize it. … Jamie needed a project and with her father retiring, along with her support for Veterans, this is near and dear to her.”
She added, “Christmas wreaths are near and dear to me. … We talked about the wreath program they have at Arlington National Cemetery and we decided to do something similar locally.”
Because this is the first year, they have decided to focus on 275 tombstones that have been in place for quite some time.
“These are older tombstones which have been there a long time and nobody recently has put wreaths out for them, that we know of, and it will be beautiful,” said Mrs. Simmons.
The wreath laying ceremony will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 16, at the Sackets Harbor Military Cemetery on Dodge Avenue.
“Everyone is welcome to come to the event to honor veterans and soldiers who have sacrificed so much,” said Jamie.
Those who are interested in assisting with the cost of wreaths, or for further information on the ceremony, should contact Mrs. Simmons at 315-767-0240.