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Wreaths Across America Ceremony to Take Place in South Windsor Saturday

American Legion Post 133, which raised funds for the wreaths, will host a ceremony at Veterans Memorial Park.

In just its third year of participating in Wreaths Across America, American Legion Post 133 in South Windsor is closer to its goal of “one veteran, one wreath.”

According to Post 133 Senior Vice Commander Art Sladyk, there are about 1,000 veterans buried in cemeteries throughout South Windsor.

Though he is keeping under wraps the precise number of wreaths that will be laid until after a ceremony this Saturday at Veterans Memorial Park at 12 p.m., Sladyk acknowledged that there will be significantly more than the 450 that were laid down at veterans’ gravesites last year.

“We’ve had a lot of support from the citizens of South Windsor and civic organizations in town and local businesses,” said Sladyk, noting that each individual wreath cost $15.

It’s been a tremendous response for the program, which has the core mission to “Remember-Honor-Teach.”

“The purpose is to remember and honor veterans and to teach the younger generations that the freedoms we have come - and still do come - at a great cost,” Sladyk said.

Sladyk said that after the ceremony at Veterans Memorial Park, people in attendance will fan out throughout town to lay the wreaths on veterans’ graves.

“We ask people to take a moment to consider that was a real person who gave his time to his country and make it personal,” Sladyk said.

Wreaths Across America, according to its website, began 20 years ago when Morrill Worcester of Maine took 5,000 surplus wreaths and laid them at veterans’ graves in Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C.

The concept eventually grew to the point where, last year, some 93,000 wreaths were laid at Arlington National Cemetery last year alone. In addition, some 750 communities nationwide also took part in their own ceremonies, all of which take place on the same day in December at noon.

In 2010, its first year taking part in the program, Post 133 raised money for 50 wreaths. Last year grew to 450 and still even more this year.

Sladyk said that anyone interested in donating for next year’s Wreaths Across America ceremony can do so by mailing checks made out to Wreaths Across America to American Legion Post 133, P.O. Box 1030, South Windsor, CT 06074.

Also, for more information, contact Sladyk at 860-648-1711 or e-mail at aps1144@cox.net.

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