Old City Cemetery, Lynchburg, VA December 14, 2008
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Published: December 13, 2008 by Lynchburg News & Advance.

On a frigid but brilliantly sunny Saturday morning at the Old City Cemetery, Lynchburg’s first venture into the Wreaths Across America project went off almost flawlessly.

The Wreaths project began in 1992 when the Maine-based Worcester Wreath Company donated a tractor-trailer load of greenery to be laid on the graves at Arlington National Cemetery. It eventually spread to some of the other military cemeteries, and ultimately nationwide, with Worcester continuing to donate wreaths.

“At noon today, wreaths were supposed to be laid at 350 cemeteries simultaneously,” Fein said.

In Lynchburg, it was a cooperative effort between the DAR, several local veterans groups, and the staff of the Old City Cemetery. Meanwhile, a team of volunteers met a truck bearing wreaths on Wednesday and unloaded them in a steady rain (“At least it was warm,” volunteer Jeanine Golden said), then helped cemetery employees identify the graves to be honored and mark them with American flags.

“There are 2,000 graves of veterans in this cemetery,” said Fein, “and we just had 600 wreaths. So we tried to do a representation of all wars, starting with the American Revolution.”

The bulk of that 2,000 rest in the cemetery’s Civil War section, many of whose occupants died at one of Lynchburg’s military hospitals. On Saturday, volunteers from Holy Cross Regional chool, Sweet Briar College and Girl Scout Troop #544 scampered over the hilly terrain matching wreaths to graves.

DAR member Rachel Sheningo saw a wreath-laying ceremony in Richmond and brought the idea back to Lynchburg, Fein said.


Photos by R. Lynn Franz