News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Sisters veterans mark wreath ceremony

From Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, across the nation to Sisters, Oregon, Americans laid wreaths on Saturday, December 16 to mark National Wreaths Across America Day. The national moment commemorates fallen veterans during the holiday season in a mission to remember the fallen; honor those who serve; and teach the next generation the value of freedom.

In Sisters, the December 16 observance was hosted by Sisters veterans and held at the veterans' memorial at Village Green Park. The ceremonial laying of wreaths on veterans' graves had taken place earlier in the week at Camp Polk Cemetery.

Captain Jim Morrell, retired U.S. Navy, served as master of ceremonies. He outlined the history of Wreaths Across America, which started with Christmas wreaths donated to Arlington National Cemetery 15 years ago, and has spread across the U.S. from big cities to small towns.

"We want to recognize the Roundhouse Foundation," he noted. "They provided... the funds for all the wreaths. They've been very good about supporting us."

Morrell told the assemblage that there are 44 veterans who are buried in Sisters at the historic Camp Polk Cemetery. Sisters veterans placed wreaths on each grave on Wednesday.

The centerpiece of the observances on Saturday at Village Green was the reading of names in memoriam of all of Sisters' departed veterans. The reading was conducted by Hal Darcy, a U.S. Navy submariner, and Mick McGrady, U.S. Marine Corps veteran and recipient of two Purple Hearts. At the reading of each name, a bell was tolled.

U.S. Army veteran Lance Trowbridge raised the colors to full staff to conclude the ceremony, and U.S. Navy veteran Bill Anttila played taps.

Anttilla told The Nugget that Sisters veterans have been observing Wreaths Across America for approximately 12 years - starting with a ceremony conducted in about three feet of snow.

In brief remarks, Mayor Michael Preedin, a U.S. Air Force veteran, noted that the theme of this year's Wreaths Across America observances was "Serve & Succeed."

"All of us, as groups and individuals, continue to serve the community in various ways, successfully," he said. "This is the kind of thing that makes Sisters so special, and I am very proud not only to be part of this group, but part of this community."

Author Bio

Jim Cornelius, Editor in Chief

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Jim Cornelius is editor in chief of The Nugget and author of “Warriors of the Wildlands: True Tales of the Frontier Partisans.” A history buff, he explores frontier history across three centuries and several continents on his podcast, The Frontier Partisans. For more information visit


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