Annual Wreaths Across America Ceremony Held at the Korean War Memorial
PLOVER, Wis. – In a steady cold rain and wind, over 35 people gathered at the Korean War Memorial Saturday for the annual Wreaths Across America ceremony.
The Wreaths Across America ceremony honors veterans who never made it home for the holidays, and pays tribute to those in our military who must spend Christmas away from their loved ones.
The local event was one of over 800 events held at memorial sites in all 50 states, including Arlington National Cemetery. This year marked the laying of the one-millionth remembrance wreath donated to honor the service and sacrifice of our veterans.
The local ceremony commenced with a posting of the colors by color guards of the Greater Plover Area Memorial VFW Post 10262 and the cadets of the Stevens Point Composite Squadron, Civil Air Patrol.
Following one minute of silence, members of the Civil Air Patrol laid remembrance wreaths at stations for each of the branches of the U.S. military: Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corp, Coast Guard, and Merchant Marine. There were also two wreaths laid in honor of the 93,129 United States servicemen from all branches of the service whose last know status was either Prisoners of War or Missing in Action.
In his invocation, Reverend George Kafer, member of the Civil Air Patrol, said, “Over the years, millions have answered the call to serve their country. For some it was a call to death. For some it was a call to broken spirit or body. For some it was a call to wait. This day, we display these wreaths to remember and honor those men and women who have served from our midst.”
Special guests of the ceremony were Dan Mahoney, Village of Plover administrator and State Senator Julie Lassa.
“I think it is especially fitting that the Wreaths Across America Event is held during the holiday Season,” Senator Lassa remarked. “As we gather together with family and friends to celebrate the great bounty we enjoy as a nation, we ought to take a few moments to reflect on those brave men and women who were willing to give all to create and preserve this nation.”
The ceremony concluded with a rifle salute and taps provided by the VFW.
Following the ceremony, the Stevens Point and Nay-Osh-ing chapters of the Daughters of the American Revolution took the ceremonial wreaths and placed them on graves of deceased military members in area cemeteries.
Receiving the wreaths was:
- Warren D. Tozier, (March 21, 1894-February 9, 1951), Private in Battery D, 139th Field Artillery 38th Battalion. He served in France during WWI. He is buried at Forest Cemetery.
- Darwin R. Dean (August 3, 1925-August 20, 1962), PFC Company C, 44th Armored Infantry Battalion. He served in the U.S. Army during WWII from 1941 to 1945, at Normandy, the Rhineland and Central European Theatres. He earned the Purple Heart, Good Conduct Medal and European Theatre Operations Medal. He is buried at Forest Cemetery.
- Robert W. Olson (August 27, 1926-September 9, 2010), S1C, U.S. Navy, WWII. He joined the Navy at 17, and served as a cook in the Navy on the ship USS Massachusetts, in the South Pacific. He witnessed the horrific explosion of the ammunition ship USS Mount Hood at Manus, Admiralty Islands in 1944. He is buried at Central Wisconsin Veterans Memorial Cemetery (King).
The following servicemen who are buried at the Guardian Angel Cemetery also received wreaths:
- Frank J. Pasternacki (1879 – 1898), Company 1, 4th Regiment, Wisconsin Volunteers. He served in the Spanish American War.
- Frank Pasternacki (1835–1902), Company G, 6th Ohio Volunteers. He served in the Civil War.
- John D. Ludwikoski (March 10, 1896-September 13, 1983), PFC US Army. He served in WWI.
- John J. Adams (January 13, 1900 – March 23, 1975), PVT US Army. He served in WWII 1941 – 1945.
- John R. Kircher (July 12, 1936–June 8, 1975) Major, WI 436 Milwaukee USAF,. He served in the Vietnam War.
- William P. Mancheski (August 1, 1933–November 12, 1988), YNT 3 US Navy. He served in the Korean War.
- Arthur Ralph Jungwirth (September 8, 1924-August 12, 2006), Technical Sergeant, US Army Air Forces WWII. He received the Purple Heart and Air Medal. He was a Prisoner of War.
Wreaths Across America is a nonprofit organization founded in 2007 to continue and expand the annual wreath laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery, which was begun by Maine businessman, Morrill Worcester, in 1992. Their mission is “Remember, Honor, and Teach.” For more information, go to the Wreaths Across America web page at www.wreathsacrossamerica.org
The Civil Air Patrol has been organizing Wreaths Across America events in Wisconsin since 2007.