It’s a scene unfolding at Veterans Cemeteries around the nation but it’s happening at the greatest volume in our region on the grounds of NAS Pensacola. Hundreds of families and volunteers are placing thousands of wreaths at Barrancas National Cemetery as part of the annual Wreaths Across America event. Organizers say they expected to place nearly 12,000 wreaths at headstones of Veterans. They say the most important part of this event is to make sure no one forgets the name and sacrifice of the veterans who are buried here in this cemetery.
“We celebrate their lives, we may grieve but we’re happy, it’s true, this makes us happy,” said Suzie Fernandez. She lost her son Forrest Sibley in 2015 and argues people die two deaths. First comes the physical death of the body. A person’s second death is the last time someone speaks their name. That’s why each wreath is placed with a recitation of the veterans name.
It’s also remarkable to note how much this program has grown in the last decade or so. Founding family member Buster Hartford says they started in 2006 with only seven wreath placements. Today they’re up to nearly 12,000.