Wreaths Across America at Camp Nelson
From staff reports
Last Saturday, Wreaths Across America presented a program and laid over 10,000 live evergreen wreaths on graves at Camp Nelson National Cemetery in Nicholasville. With over 700 volunteers and attendees, this was the largest Wreaths Across America ever at Camp Nelson, more than doubling the number of wreaths that were laid last year.
All ceremony participants were Kentuckians, including many military veterans. An honorary wreath squad placed ceremonial wreaths for each military service plus the U.S. Merchant Marine, POW/MIA, and U.S. war dead buried overseas.
Local celebrity Marlana VanHoose sang the national anthem and Eagle Scout Brayden Mefford let the pledge of allegiance. University of Kentucky ROTC provided the color guard. Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, the 7th KY US Volunteer Infantry, and cadets from Henry Clay High School, Jessamine County High School, and the Kentucky Division, US Naval Sea Cadets assisted in the ceremony and laying of wreaths.
Many local businesses provided teams of volunteers, including Aramark-UK Dining, Toyota, Link-Belt Cranes, and Milward’s Funeral Home. V.E.T.S. Charitable Corp, in Lawrenceburg, was recognized as this year’s largest donor for bringing in $20,450 in sponsorships.
A presentation was made about the importance of Camp Nelson as a key emancipation site and refugee camp for African American soldiers and their families during the Civil War. It was one of the largest Union Army recruitment and training centers in the nation for African American soldiers, then known as U.S. Colored Troops.
Camp Nelson was one of 2,158 locations participating in WAA across the country, honoring veterans with 2.2 million wreaths.
This annual public family-friendly event seeks to further the WAA mission of Remember, Honor, Teach, ensuring that the memory of those who served our country endures. Next year, WAA Day will be Saturday, Dec. 12, 2020.