Hundreds of wreaths were placed on veterans’ graves in Pershing County as part of the nationwide “Wreaths Across America” program. Local family members attended Saturday’s ceremony before placing wreaths in remembrance of loved ones buried at three cemeteries.
Organizer Elizabeth Blondheim said the ceremony will happen again next year due to strong support by individuals and sponsors who paid for pine bough wreaths adorned with red ribbons.
“We will continue as long as our community continues to support it,” she said as the final wreaths were laid at Lone Pine Cemetery. “It was an awesome collaboration from all of our sponsors. We had a great turnout and we can only get better from here on out.”
A total of 386 ceremonial wreaths were placed including 122 at the Big Meadow Cemetery, 23 at the Lovelock Paiute Cemetery and 233 at Lone Mountain Cemetery. Six wreaths were saved for six veterans buried at the Unionville Cemetery, Blondheim said.
Sponsors included Coeur Rochester, the Lovelock Paiute Tribe, Port of Subs, the American Legion as well as numerous private citizens, Blondheim said.
Some of the stakes that mark veterans’ graves were missing so a more accurate count will be needed to be sure all the graves are included in next year’s wreath ceremony, Blondhiem said.
County Commissioner Larry Rackley placed wreaths on the graves of three family members at Big Meadow Cemetery and Lone Pine Cemetery and helped lay the wreaths on veteran’s graves at the Lovelock Paiute Cemetery. He believes the ceremony will become a tradition.
“It’s a good thing, it really is,” he said. “We had lots of help. There were more people here today than I thought were going to be here. But, we needed a few more wreaths.”
Lovelock Paiute Tribal Council Secretary Tia Happy and her family placed wreaths on two graves at the Tribal Cemetery for her grandfather Albert Happy, a World War II veteran, and her stepfather Ronnie Bonta, a U.S. Army veteran. The Tribe donated $500 for ceremonial wreaths.
Happy’s husband Jason Nash and other family members would like the ceremony to continue.
“I love it because it gives thanks for all the sacrifices they made for the nation and for the torment or whatever they went through in the wars,” Nash said. “I’m glad that they are doing it.”
“I think the ceremony is great and that we should do it every year to honor our veterans,” said Tia Happy’s 12-year-old son Jackson Happy.
“I feel this is something we should keep doing for years and years to thank the veterans,” said Happy’s 16-year-old daughter Anna Happy.
Frankie Graham commented after placing a wreath on the grave of her brother-in-law Roy (Wayne) Graham, Jr. who served in the Air Force and in the Nevada Highway Patrol.
“The ceremony was great. I was excited to see it come to Lovelock. We made a donation through the company but, on a personal level, I think it’s a great way to recognize those who served for us and gave their lives,” she said. “The support has been tremendous this year and I am looking forward to seeing it become an annual event. They’ve done a great job.”