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NEWS | Nov. 26, 2014

Army Reserve General presides over final wreath laying ceremony

By Story by Sgt. 1st Class Clinton Wood 84th Training Command

LOUISVILLE, Ky.—For the third consecutive year, Maj. Gen. David W. Puster, Commanding General of the Army Reserve’s 84th Training Command, Fort Knox, Ky., presided over a wreath laying ceremony Monday, Nov. 24, 2014 at the Zachary Taylor National Cemetery in Louisville, Ky. The ceremony held here honored our 12th President Taylor. A General Officer must ensure that each former President like Taylor receive a wreath provided by the White House at his gravesite on their anniversary of their birth.

This was Puster’s final ceremony which celebrated Taylor’s 230th birthday at the cemetery. He will assume responsibility next year as the Deputy Commanding General (Support), 8th U.S. Army, Korea.

“It was truly an honor to be selected by the White House to preside over the wreath laying ceremony,” said Puster “The fact that Taylor is buried in Louisville is a rich testament to the history of this area and I appreciate the opportunity to participate in the fine tradition and be a part of the history.”

This year’s brief ceremony in winds so strong that a Soldier from the Human Resources Command Honor Guard had to hold the wreath at the gravesite saw the Command play a huge role. Chaplain (Maj.) Doug Harvey of Louisville, Ky., Deputy Chaplain for the Command, read the invocation. 

Several Headquarters and Headquarters Company Soldiers dressed in their Army Service Uniforms attended and a few were selected to form an Honor Platoon. The Human Resources Command Honor Guard, Fort Knox, and an Army bugler and drummer also participated. Several Student Council members from T.K. Stone Middle School, Elizabethtown, Ky., the Command’s Partnership in Education School, also attended for the first time.

The Command and Taylor are closely tied. The Command traces its lineage back to the U.S. Army’s 84th Infantry Division which was mobilized and trained during World War 1 at Camp Zachary Taylor in Louisville.

Like this long-time connection, Puster too has made valuable connections during the last three years. He was able to meet Taylor’s descendants, who were curators of Taylor’s former home, and several local citizens. He also said he has had discussions with Kenny Karem, an educator and writer who wrote a historical piece on the cemetery.

In these discussions, Puster said he learned that representatives from every war since Taylor’s presidency are buried at the cemetery which Congress established in 1928. 
Puster was not the only one who enjoyed being part of history.
Esha Khan, a seventh grader at the school, described the ceremony as an “enriching opportunity.”

“It was a really great opportunity and I am thankful I had the experience,” she articulated.

Fellow seventh grader Emmaleigh Wood said she was impressed how important a wreath laying ceremony like this was important to the U.S. Army.

“It was very well worth it,” said Wood.

Having the student council was also well worth it to Puster.

“I enjoyed talking to the kids the most because they represent the next generation and they need to understand history and our past,” said Puster.