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NEWS | Dec. 21, 2021

Wreaths Across America, volunteers honor veterans

By Sgt. Katherine Ramos Muniz 1st Mission Support Command

The 1st Mission Support Command, U.S. Army Reserve-Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, honor veterans by participating in the National Wreaths Across America day at the Puerto Rico National Cemetery, Dec 18.

Hundreds of service members and volunteers placed 3,000 donated wreaths beside the headstone of the fallen veterans as a symbol of honor and gratitude for their service.

"This initiative began in the early '90s in Arlington, Virginia; people started donating wreaths to honor the men and women who have fought for the nation," said Jose Nieves, director of the Puerto Rico National Cemetery. "This year, we received the support of different service members from the armed services… if it weren't for their unity, we wouldn't be able to conduct this event."

The Puerto Rico National Cemetery has approximately 52,000 graves.

"The community can learn more and support the mission by visiting," said Nieves. "If we all come together, one day we will be able to place a wreath on each grave."

Col. Carlos Caceres, 1st MSC commanding officer, served as the guest speaker during the ceremony.

"We are here to give thanks and live up to one of our core principles, the pledge that many of us have made of never leaving our fallen comrades behind," said Caceres. "It is important to recognize our veterans for the immense sacrifice they made and remind everyone that freedom is not free."

Soldiers assigned to the 1st MSC along with other service members placed a remembrance wreath in memory of those who served and are serving in the armed services.

In the end, the volunteers who placed a wreath on a veteran's grave said the name of the fallen service member aloud, an act to keep the memories of the veterans alive.

Since 9/11, 100 percent of the Army Reserve-Puerto Rico units have mobilized and deployed to answer the nation's call to protect democracy and freedom.