National Cemetery holds wreath-laying ceremony

Michael Isam, spokesman for the Veterans Council of St Johns County, announced to local Historic City News reporters that, for the first time since the observance began in 2007, all 1218 graves in the St. Augustine National Cemetery will receive a wreath as part of the 2012 “Wreaths Across America” ceremonies.

In addition to individual wreaths donated by the organization and placed in national cemeteries in all 50 states and nearly 30 locations overseas, special wreaths will be placed for each branch of service; carried by active duty personnel and Junior ROTC cadets.

“This is an incredible event in our history,” said SGM (Ret) Daniel Blackman; who will lead the Pledge of Allegiance during the midday ceremony Saturday. “In the past we have had as many as 100 wreaths — and as few as 20; I can’t thank our contributors enough for allowing us to reach this milestone.”

The “Wreaths Across America” organization announced that at the conclusion of this year’s deliveries, they will have reached their own milestone — when one million wreaths have been donated.

The Veterans Council recognized Danielle McQuarry of “Two Men and a Truck” who has donated a delivery vehicle for several years to meet the southbound “Wreaths Across America” tractor-trailer at I-95 and SR-206 and off-load the local wreaths and then store them until they are ready to be installed.

“It would be physically impossible for the semi-truck to navigate the narrow streets around the cemetery,” McQuarry pointed out. This year, Isam reported that McQuarry will also be serving coffee and doughnuts before the ceremonies begin.

The local ceremony will be held on Saturday, December 15, commencing at noon and will be held at the St Augustine National Cemetery; located on Marine Street, just south of the Florida National Guard headquarters.