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Volunteers gathered at San Marcos City Ceremony on Saturday to take part in National Wreaths Across America Day, where they placed wreaths on veterans’ graves. Pictured above and below, volunteers place wreaths on graves during Saturday’s event. Daily Record photos by Nick Castillo

REMEMBERING VETERANS: Volunteers place wreaths on veterans’ graves at San Marcos City Cemetery

Monday, December 19, 2022

Volunteers placed wreaths on veterans’ graves at San Marcos City Cemetery during National Wreaths Across America Day on Saturday.

The City of San Marcos’ Parks and Recreation Department joined Wreaths Across America’s mission to “remember, honor and teach” for the fourth year. San Marcos City Cemetery served as an official location for the annual event.

“We are all proud to be Americans that live in a free society made up of many people, from many walks of life,” Mayor Jane Hughson said during a ceremony held during Saturday’s event. “The freedoms we enjoy today have not come without a price. Lying here before us and in cemeteries throughout this nation are men and women who gave their lives so that we can live in freedom and without fear.”

US Army Veteran Michael Hernandez led Saturday’s invocation. Boy Scouts of America Troop 112 presented the colors, while Tammy Strakos performed the National Anthem. Members of the Kissing Tree Veterans Group and San Marcos High School ROTC — David Reel, U.S. Army veteran; Gerry McLaughlin, U.S. Marine Corps veteran; Pat Porter, U.S. Navy veteran; Dale Youngstrom, U.S. Air Force veteran; SMHS Air Force ROTC Cadet, 2nd Lt. Angelina Guerrero; John Lindley, U.S. Navy Veteran; Paul Jensen, a U.S. Merchant Marine veteran; and Hernandez —  laid ceremonial wreaths for each branch of service.

“These live balsam fir wreaths symbolize our honor to those who have served and are serving in the armed forces of our great nation and to their families who endure sacrifices everyday on our behalf,” said Stephanie Brown, Vice-Chair Veteran Affairs Advisory Committee. “To our children, we want you to understand that the freedoms you enjoy today have not been free but have come with a cost that someday, you may have to pay yourself. As a nation standing together, we can defeat terrorism, hatred and injustice. Thanks to our veterans, we have the freedom to do just that.”

Cathy McBride Stoughton closed out Saturday’s ceremony with a performance of TAPS.

Wreaths Across America is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in an effort to continue and expand the annual wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery, which began in 1992 by Maine businessman Morrill Worcester.

The organization aims to “remember, honor, teach” by coordinating wreath-laying ceremonies in December at Arlington as well as a multitude of other locations across the United States.

According to Wreaths Across America, 353 wreaths were sponsored for San Marcos City Cemetery, which doesn’t include 106 wreaths donated by the Mountain Laurel Garden Club.

The wreaths were delivered to San Marcos by Robert Mead, who drove his truck from Laredo to Maine and back. The wreaths were delivered to San Marcos Fire Station #2 on Dec. 10 where firefighters helped unload 61 boxes

Above, San Marcos Fire Department firefighters, Robert Mead, who transported the wreaths to San Marcos, and Lisa Morris, parks and recreation programs manager, pose for a photo after receving the wreaths on Dec. 10. Photo courtesy of Lisa Morris

Anyone wishing to sponsor a wreath for the 2023 event can go to Any wreath sponsored between now and Jan. 15 will be matched, according to Lisa Morris, parks and recreation programs manager.

Wreaths out day at San Marcos City Cemetery will take place Jan. 14 at 9:30 a.m. Volunteers will be needed to take out the wreaths and recycle them.

San Marcos Record

(512) 392-2458
P.O. Box 1109, San Marcos, TX 78666