SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- Service members, veterans and civilians visited Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery to help lay 4,600 wreaths on the graves of fallen service members Dec. 12.
The wreaths were laid as part of National Wreaths Across America Day, which is held on the second Saturday of December at Arlington National Cemetery and 800 other veterans' cemeteries nationwide.
The event's keynote speaker was retired Rear Adm. Ray Smith, who took time to honor the more than 110,000 service members and merchant mariners interred in Fort Rosecrans.
"What we're doing here today is so important, and having seen the number of folks coming out to volunteer is truly amazing," said Smith. "Having been the guest speaker here four years ago and being here again today has shown what this event not only means to the veterans and active duty individuals but the community of San Diego."
Ceremonial wreaths representing each of the armed forces, merchant mariners and POW/MIA service members were presented at the memorial by members of the Westview High School Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps.
"This is the 10th year Fort Rosecrans Cemetery has been able to participate in Wreaths Across America," said Tim Campion, volunteer coordinator for Wreaths Across America San Diego. "We surpassed last year's numbers, this being our largest year in both wreaths donated and number of individuals coming out to help support. Between Fort Rosecrans, Miramar National Cemetery and newly added Greenwood Cemetery we laid 8,500 wreaths."
Capt. Howard Warner III, commanding officer, Naval Base Point Loma, was present for the ceremony and paid tribute to the fallen Sailors, Marines, Soldiers, Airmen and Merchant Mariners.
"Participating in this event as a commanding officer is both an honor and a privilege representing the United States Navy," said Warner. "I believe because Wreaths Across America has been able to provide at least 4,000 wreaths year in and year out for the past 10 years is a testament to the enduring nature of celebrating our veterans and the community of San Diego paying their respects to those who gave the ultimate sacrifice."
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