Community honors veterans buried at Mount Hope Cemetery
The pathways at Mount Hope Cemetery in Lander were lined with vehicles as community members gathered yesterday, December 14th, 2019, for the inaugural “Wreaths Across America” ceremony.
The process of bringing this coordinated nationwide ceremony to Lander was long and arduous for 16-year-old Taylor Romans. She spent several months completing paperwork and fundraising to make it happen. Those hurdles have not stymied Taylor as she’s already planning and fundraising for next year.
During the opening ceremony speech, Taylor shared the importance of remembering the fallen veterans, honoring their service, and educating the younger generations about their sacrifices. “We thank those who gave their lives to keep us free. And we shall not forget you.”
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Lander Mayor Monte Richardson shared his appreciation for Taylor during his speech. As well as, thanking the veterans for their sacrifices.
The first wreaths laid were for each branch of the military and for those whose last known status was prisoner of war or missing in action.
The playing of Taps signified the end of the opening ceremony. Veterans, local law enforcement, firefighters, both young and old community members, and many others dispersed to begin their honoring by laying the 477 wreaths. Everyone worked together to move the snow and uncover the headstones Taylor had marked with flags. Light snow quieted the cemetery but you could still hear the names of the veterans being said aloud as a wreath was placed on their grave.
Taylor is already working on raising $15,000 for next year’s ceremony. If you’d like to donate or sponsor a wreath for the 2020 ceremony, you can do so by visiting the Mount Hope Cemetery Wreaths Across America website or Wreaths Across America – Mount Hope Cemetery – Lander, Wyoming Facebook page.
The wreaths laid at yesterday’s ceremony will be collected from the graves in mid-January. If you’d like to help Taylor with that, you can contact her at any of the links listed above.
[PHOTO GALLERY BELOW]
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