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ALTON - The Wreaths Across America event will mark its 15th year with a ceremony at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 18, at Alton National Cemetery.

Event Coordinator Margaret Hopkins said she recently learned they could proceed with the service and she is very excited about it because they weren’t able to do that last year with the COVID-19 Pandemic.

“Last year we put on the wreaths with a skeleton crew,” she said. “We are looking for volunteers for this year. They can just call me and be penciled in once we know the date the wreaths will arrive. We also have arranged a crew that cleans it all up after the ceremony, which we are grateful for.”

Hopkins said because of community support, the Wreaths Across America has continued to grow.

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Families with a veteran buried outside the Alton National Cemetery also have an opportunity to order a wreath for their loved ones. Hopkins said there are an extra 135 wreaths ordered to distribute outside the Alton National Cemetery for families with a veteran. Hopkins also said anyone who would like to reserve a wreath for a loved one who was a veteran can contact Sue Fitzgerald at (618) 530-1430.

The Alton Junior ROTC, Troop 16 St. Peter and Paul Boy Scouts, the Patriot Guard, Holy Family School in Granite City, several veterans, and others will assist in the ceremony and preparation, Hopkins said. A choral group will also participate in the December 18 ceremony, and there will be a rifle salute and taps.

A total of 560 wreaths are positioned in gravestones at Alton National Cemetery.

For those who want to volunteer when the wreaths arrive, contact Hopkins at (618) 570-8804.

Riverbender.com has one sponsor for the event - Sen. Rachelle Crowe and is seeking another. Contact (618) 465-9850, extension 226 if you are interested in being an additional sponsor.

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