A beautiful late Fall day in Alton attracted more than 200 people to the Alton National Cemetery for the 8th annual Wreaths Across America ceremony. Those in attendance watched as local veterans joined with 4th grade students from St. Mary's Catholic School in Alton to decorate the more than 500 headstones with a wreath for the Christmas season.
Local Wreaths Across America coordinator Margaret Hopkins reminded the crowd that the national program was created to remember the fallen, honor those who serve and their families and teach our children the value of freedom. In addition to the wreath laying ceremony, wreaths were also presented for the five branches of the armed services, POW/MIA, and Gold Star Mothers. A 21 gun salute and the playing of Taps closed out the event that was in sharp contrast to last year which was canceled due to ice and snow, although the wreaths were still placed on the graves. The wreaths will remain in place until early January.