MATAMORAS - Americans from Matamoras to the Normandy American Cemetery honored those who have served with wreaths, Saturday afternoon.

As part of Wreaths of America, remembrance wreaths were placed at the monuments in Veterans Park, with others to honor every branch of the military and prisoners of war. Additionally, four wreaths were placed at a small plot nearby, to honor Henry Cortright Middaugh, Garret VanAucken, John VanAucken, and John Ryerson who served in the Revolutionary War and Indian Wars.

Saturday at noon, across the country Americans placed wreaths at more than 1,100 memorial sites and cemeteries, for those who have served. From the Vietnam Veterans of America Tri-State Chapter 623, Linda Kozak said it was a time where Americans “gathered as one nation to remember, to teach and to honor.” 

It is because of those who have served and the many who ultimately sacrificed Kozak said, that Americans are able to “live in freedom and without fear” and because of that, such ceremonies occur so the necessary honor can be given.   

Looking to the few present, most of whom were veterans, Kozak said it was because of them, that Americans are free and for that, she thanked them.   

Those who joined together Saturday, Kozak said it was a showing of a “united front of gratitude and respect” to remember the fallen, honor those who serve and teach children the “value of freedom.”  

Six wreathes were placed outside the gates of the park to honor each branch of the United States Armed Services. Throughout the country at the various sites, 93,129 remembrance wreaths for the soldiers whose last known status was prisoner of war or missing in action. Those soldiers, Kozak said will never be forgotten. 

Worcester Wreath Company of Maine has provided the wreaths since Wreaths Across America started in 2007 with thousands of volunteers taking part in ceremonies around the country. At Arlington National Cemetery alone, thousands of wreaths were placed and for the first time, 9,387 wreaths were placed on the headstones of every American service member laid to rest at the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial in France. 

The wreaths, Kozak said are a symbol of honor to those who have served and those currently serving for they have and continue to “endure sacrifices every day on our behalf.”