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Marion National Cemetery honors veterans

REMEMBER, HONOR, TEACH: Veterans stand as representatives of each branch of the U.S. military and Prisoners of War/Missing In Action for the VA wreath laying ceremony at Marion National Cemetery on Saturday afternoon.

BY Emily Rachelle Russell - erussell@chronicle-tribune.com

Marion National Cemetery took part in the national 2018 Wreaths Across America ceremony on Saturday, with 5,100 holiday wreaths distributed across veterans’ headstones.

Veterans representing each branch of the military – Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard and Merchant Marines – as well as prisoners of war and those missing in action placed wreaths symbolically on stands before Grant County community members in attendance dispersed across the cemetery to place wreaths on headstones.

Guest speaker Brigadier General Ronald Westfall of the Indiana National Guard, who has deployed several times and is the recipient of several medals and badges including the Bronze Star Medal and Combat Infantry Badge, gave a message on “Remember, honor, teach.”

“Remember the fallen,” Westfall said. “Remember ... who paid the ultimate sacrifice.”

Westfall also stressed the importance of honoring those in uniform, former and present, and their families. He spoke on the need to teach children the value of freedom, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

The Wreaths Across America program began 13 years ago. Every year carries a theme, Westfall said, and the 2018 theme is “Be their witness,” referencing the importance of remembering the lives of fallen veterans.