(Lander, WY) – The Wreaths Across America Ceremony in Lander took place on Saturday, December 18 at Mount Hope Cemetery, joining the other 2,500 participating sites across the country to lay wreaths at the graves of our nation’s honored veterans.
Taylor Romans, a senior and event organizer at Lander Valley High School (LVHS), greeted the crowd as they took their seats, marking the last year she will be directly in charge of the ceremony.
A proclamation was announced at the December 14 Lander City Council meeting, also honoring the ceremony.
“We are all proud to be Americans who live in a free society of many people, of many walks of life,” Taylor told the crowd as the ceremony began.
“The freedoms we enjoy today come at a price. Lying here before us and in cemeteries across this nation are men and women who gave their lives so we could live in freedom without fear. We can worship as we see fit.
“We can raise our children to believe as we do. We are free to vote for the leaders of our choice. And, we have the right to succeed and we have the right to fail in any endeavor we wish to pursue.
Taylor then quoted the 40th President of the United States, Ronald Reagan.
“Freedom is never more than a generation away from extinction. We did not pass it on to our children in blood. It must be fought, protected and passed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our last years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free .
Next, guest speaker Dan Starks, owner/founder of the Dubois National Museum of Military Vehicles, thanked Taylor for his years of service to Wreath Across America, as well as those who have served and are serving our country.
“We remember a very small percentage of the population that willingly put themselves in harm’s way,” Starks commented.
After the Color Guard displayed and placed the flags, the following people laid wreaths to honor those who served or are serving in the various branches of the military, as well as prisoners of war and missing persons:
- Jonathan Pike laid the wreath in honor of the United States Army
- William Bowlsby laid the wreath in honor of the United States Marine Corps
- William Declue laid the wreath in honor of the United States Navy
- Misty Kincaid laid a wreath in honor of the US Air Force
- Corridan Butler laid the wreath in honor of the United States Space Force
- David Langerman laid the wreath in honor of the United States Coast Guard
- Dewey Sutch laid the wreath in honor of the United States Merchant Navy
- Jim Paulus laid the wreath to honor the 93,129 U.S. service members from all branches of the service whose last known status was either POW or missing in action
Check out the livestream of the entire ceremony, some final words from Taylor, and more photos from the event below.