SALISBURY — National Wreaths Across America Day is Saturday, Dec. 15, and local veterans from Marine Corps League High Country Detachment #1389 are seeking volunteers to help honor the memory of fallen soldiers buried at Salisbury National Cemetery in Rowan County, according to detachment member Bernie Lee.
“Wreaths Across America believes when a man dies, he dies twice,” Lee said. “First time you die is when the Lord calls you home, and the second time a man dies is when his name is spoken out loud for the last time on Earth — then he’s really dead.”
Lee said veterans need volunteers to help achieve the goal of National Wreaths Across America Day by speaking the names of the fallen.
“The volunteers will lay the wreath on the tombstone, give a few seconds of respect, then say that veteran’s name out loud,” Lee said. “That keeps their memory alive.”
There are more than 8,000 graves at Salisbury National Cemetery, many of which Lee said will not be honored this year because marine corps leagues across the state were not able to raise enough money for so many wreaths. One grave in particular at the military cemetery holds a special significance for the veterans of Marine Corps League High Country Detachment #1389.
“We’ve lost one of our own members this year — Jim Prym,” Lee said. “The detachment here is going to do a special wreath-laying at his grave.”
Prym’s is one of around 150 graves that will be honored with wreaths by the High Country Detachment veterans, who spent the year raising money to afford the wreaths.
“Last year we were the only Marine Corps League in western North Carolina that got involved,” Lee said. “There are other detachments throughout the state coming.”
Across the United States and abroad, more than 1,400 military cemeteries will be honored on National Wreaths Across America Day Saturday, Dec. 15.
“It’s been called the biggest veterans parade in the world,” Lee said. “It’s a shame that not too many people know about it — a lot of people have never heard of it.”
A veteran-provided van will leave from Ashe for Salisbury between 8-9 a.m. Saturday, Lee said. To volunteer, call Bernie Lee at (828) 964-6442.