Wreaths Across America—A Day of Remembrance

Left to right, back row: David Prewitt, Don Avila, Dave Palenshus, and Jerry Meyer; front row: Donna Prewitt, Alan Call, Cynthia Avila, Linda Nicholson, Ann Palenshus, and Kathy Meyer

Linda Nicholson

In December, Saddlebrooke Ranch residents participated in laying Christmas wreaths on veterans’ graves at Evergreen Cemetery in Tucson. The annual event to honor veterans was held on the morning of Dec. 16.

The morning was sunny, clear, and warm. Enjoying some coffee and donuts and fellowship, close to 100 volunteers across Tucson gathered for the ceremony and laying of the wreaths. SaddleBrooke Ranch was represented by Donna and David Prewitt, Alan Call, Ann and Dave Palenshus, Kathy and Jerry Meyer, and Linda Nicholson. SaddleBrooke residents Cynthia and Don Avila also participated.

Before the ceremony began, volunteers stopped to visit the display set up for Gold Star families. Several Gold Star families were in attendance and spoke with pride of their loved ones and heavy hearts about their loss.

The ceremony began with the posting of the colors by the Sons of the American Revolution in their period dress. Rebecca Call, a Saddlebrooke Ranch resident, also participated in the parade with the Daughters of the American Revolution. Joseph Morgan, a member of the American Patriot Memorial, sang the national anthem while the volunteers stood with hands over hearts. Following the invocation by Mike Dyer, Military Order of the Purple Heart, Sheron Jones of Southern Arizona Gold Star Mothers spoke of the importance of remembering the sacrifices of our veterans and their families.

Following the retirement of the colors and playing of Taps by George Lipphardt, the volunteers dispersed to lay the 2,832 wreaths received by Evergreen Cemetery. Taking one wreath at a time, the volunteers each stop to say the veteran’s name and offer gratitude for their service and sacrifice as they lay the wreath on the grave.

For the last 10 years, SaddleBrooke Ranch residents have significantly contributed to the growth of this program. In 2023, through the patriotism and generosity of our community, $1,925 was raised through donations and the purchase of raffle tickets.

Thank you to Sheron Jones of Southern Arizona Gold Star Mothers for her many hours supporting Wreaths Across America. I also gratefully acknowledge our residents who donate and participate at a veterans cemetery.