Wreath event to honor deceased vets
by Megan Thornton
mthornton@cherokeetribune.com
December 13, 2012 12:37 AM | 1450 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Supporters of U.S. veterans will flock to Georgia National Cemetery on Saturday morning to honor those buried there and veterans nationwide as part of the annual Wreaths Across America event.

Wreath laying will begin at 10:30 a.m. with a formal ceremony starting at noon.

Evanthe Papastathis, coordinator for the event, said there will be enough wreaths to place on every headstone.

She said about 5,539 will be delivered to the Sutallee cemetery Friday, with extras used to decorate the columbarium.

“We’re very excited we’ll be able to have enough for all of the headstones this year again,” Papastathis said. “We were very fortunate last week to have a foundation give a very large donation. If not for them, we would have been short about 1,800 wreaths.”

Featured guest speakers are retired Col. Larry Mrozinski of Woodstock who served more than 30 years in the U.S. Army, 11-year-old Etowah Valley Young Marine Micenna Brooks, Remington Youngblood, the 11-year-old founder of Change4Georgia, a nonprofit that donates needed items to military members overseas and Renee Worcestor, a board member of Wreaths Across America.

“We’re very fortunate have two children to speak to show our children are our greatest assets,” Papastathis said.

Micenna, a former Oak Grove Elementary School student who now attends Allatoona Elementary in Acworth, has spoken at the event for the last three years.

Her non-profit organization, Micenna’s Mission, provides letters, cards, poems and pictures for veterans. She and other volunteers read to the veterans in hospitals and nursing homes.

Micenna’s mother, Ronita Brooks, said her daughter started the letter writing project when she was 7 years old. To date, Micenna has read and delivered more than 100,000 cards.

“She’s got a motto to make sure all veterans feel loved and not forgotten,” Brooks said. “She mainly focuses on older ones because they didn’t get parades like her dad (an Iraq veteran) did when they came home.”

Those wishing to support Micenna’s Mission can send any of the above correspondence to P.O. Box 881, Acworth, GA 30101.

Papastathis said the event continues to be well-received by members of the local community and veteran supporters near and far.

“We just need to get more and more people involved,” she said.

For the event, Papastathis recommended attendees be at the section of the gravesite they wish to lay a wreath no later than 10 a.m., where they will be given instructions by volunteers on how to lay the wreath.

“We expect somewhere between 1,500 and 2,000 people,” she said, noting about 1,500 attended last year’s event.

Papastathis said parking will be limited and advised attendees to carpool if possible.

During the wreath laying, Buglers Across America will play music and the Georgia State Defense Force Band will play before and after the noon ceremony.

For more information, visit wreathsacrossamericanorthgeorgia.shutterfly.com.
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