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ALTON - The Annual Wreaths Across America Ceremony in Alton brings about unity and pays homage each year to those who served their country and rest in peace in Alton’s National Cemetery.

This year there was again tremendous participation by Alton area youth. St. Mary’s Catholic School had several students participate and not one who signed up failed to show, Coordinator Margaret Hopkins said.

Alton State’s Attorney Thomas Haine also participated and two of his sons helped in placing the wreaths in the proper position. Several grandchildren of veterans stood proudly by the side of their loved ones to place wreaths.

Hopkins even had four of her granddaughters take part in placing the wreaths on graves.

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The Alton Junior ROTC was a large participant in the presentation of Colors and also participated in the ceremonial wreath laying.

Master Sgt. Katie Rosenbeck does “a great job” with the Alton Junior ROTC, Hopkins said.

“She comes to our committee meetings and helps with the program every year.”

Emily Schrumpf and Gabriel Futhey battled tough weather conditions but turned in dynamic trumpet renditions of Echoing Taps. Hopkins said the trumpet performances are something she looks forward to each year for the Alton High School band.

“I thought Emily and Gabriel did a beautiful job,” Hopkins said.

Overall, Hopkins said the youth participation is one of the most moving parts of the Wreaths Across America and she is so thankful for every younger person who was part of the ceremony.

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