ARCADIA, Wis. – On Saturday, December 17, our nation’s heroes were remembered with the placement of honorary wreaths on headstones of our fallen service men and women across the country. Volunteers for National Wreaths Across America laid wreaths at more than 3,400 participating cemeteries across the United States. In an effort to honor and remember our veterans and active military men and women, Ashley Furniture Industries, LLC (Ashley) hosted their annual Wreaths Across America wreath laying ceremony. The ceremony took place at Soldiers Walk in Arcadia, Wisconsin’s Memorial Park, one of the premier war memorials outside of Washington D.C. This year’s ceremony marks the seventh year Ashley has sponsored this event in support of National Wreaths Across America Day.
Ahead of the ceremony, Ashley Volunteers equipped each wreath with a bright red ribbon and a tag that read the mission statement of Wreaths Across America Day: REMEMBER the Fallen, HONOR those that serve and their families, and TEACH the next generation about the value of Freedom. This mission came to life at Soldiers Walk as many people from the community gathered to lay wreaths at each of the war memorials to commemorate those who have served. Included in the ceremony were Ashley employees, Tickfer-Erickson American Legion Post 17 (Arcadia, WI), Arcadia’s Boy Scout Troop 64 along with local veterans, active service members and their families.
Prior to this day, beginning in Maine, a parade of trucks known as the ‘Honor Fleet’ traveled down the east coast, delivering wreaths to each of the participating cemeteries to be laid at grave sites of veterans at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, along with other veterans’ cemeteries along the way. Ashley was honored to be selected as one of few tractor trailers in the Arlington National Cemetery ceremony, delivering thousands of veterans’ wreaths to be laid by volunteers. As part of the Honor Fleet, Ashley Distribution Services proudly sent eight Ashley trucks and trailers to deliver 46,701 wreaths to 58 different cemeteries across the United States. Since Ashley began participating in Wreaths Across America in 2017, 142,731 wreaths have been delivered to 179 different cemeteries on their behalf.
“As a veteran of the U.S. Army I participate in Wreaths Across America as it is a way that I can continue to serve our military, whether it be our fallen soldiers and their families, our current active-duty military and to also teach those about the sacrifices of these very special people,” said Steve Ralston, Ashley Furniture Industries, LLC. “I appreciate the participation of Ashley and it further shows the love and support that our founder, Ron Wanek, and his family has for our military, our veterans, and their families.”
As a gesture of appreciation for the freedoms Americans enjoy, volunteers lay each live, balsam wreath on the headstones of various veterans, as a gift of respect. Each wreath is sponsored by an individual or organization. Wreaths Across America believes the tradition represents a living memorial that honors veterans, active-duty military, and their families. When each wreath is placed the service member’s name is said out loud, ensuring their memory lives on.
A special thank you to all of the area businesses and residents sponsoring wreaths for the Arcadia event: Arcadia Credit Union, Arcadia TV & Appliance, Bawek’s Shoe Store, Dairyland Laboratories, Dairyland Power Cooperative, DSM, Heidi Bragger Kadinger, Jacinta, Kris Dietrich, Renai Rotering, Stockyard Bar and Grill, Supreme Graphics, The Hoefling Family, The Ridge Family and Tri County Communications Cooperative.