PORTLAND, Oregon (NNS) -- Each December on National Wreaths Across America Day, volunteers remember, honor and teach at more than 1,200 cemeteries in all 50 U.S. states, at sea, and abroad. This year, more than 20 Sailors assigned to the submarine tender USS Frank Cable (AS 40) along with civilians and other members of the military volunteered to honor the fallen at Willamette National Cemetery, 10 miles southeast of Portland, December 16.
This year more than 6,000 wreaths were laid on the graves, a big jump from last year when only 350 wreaths were laid. During a ceremony before volunteers spanned out across the cemetery, wreaths were presented for each branch along with those missing in action and prisoners of war.
There are many reasons why Sailors donate their time for community relations, but for some this one was very important to them.
"Today was especially important to me because it honors the people who died and sacrificed their life for our freedom," said Logistics Specialist 2nd Class Maria Brady. "The people we lost will never be forgotten because we have people who will be there to remember and honor them for what they did."
Community service projects can be a good way for Sailors to spend their time and help those in need.
"I think events like today are important to Sailors because it's a way to be more productive and constructive on our spare time," said Hull Maintenance Technician 3rd Class Daphny Davila. "It is also way to interact with the citizens we serve for. It's amazing to see how we impact others and how they impact our lives."
Capt. Jeff Farah, commanding officer of Frank Cable, was present for the ceremony and paid tribute to the fallen Sailors, Marines, Soldiers, Airmen and Merchant Mariners.
"It was an honor for us to participate in this year's Wreaths Across America Day," said Farah. "Joining a group of more than 300 volunteers to lay wreaths on the final resting place of our fallen comrades was a humbling experience, and was a perfect capstone to our stay here in Portland."
Frank Cable is currently completing a dry-dock phase maintenance availability. The ship will get underway soon for sea trials, which constitutes the final determination of a ship's ability to re-join the fleet as an operational unit to conduct maintenance and support submarines and surface vessels deployed to the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.
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For more news from USS Frank Cable (AS 40), visit www.navy.mil/local/as40/.