Volunteers honor veterans by placing wreaths on graves at Mountain Home National Cemetary.

Hannah Swayze • Dec 17, 2017 at 12:37 AM

Volunteers made their way to Mountain Home National Cemetery Saturday to honor the servicemen and women buried there by placing a wreath on every other headstone.

Bundled up in hats, gloves and boots, at least 100 people arrived for the Wreaths Across America ceremony to witness the dedication of the Service Remembrance Wreath.

The Wreaths Across America foundation’s the goal is to place a wreath on every veteran's grave across America. Mountain Home is one of many participating locations.

After a brief welcome from David Carter, Wreaths of Across America location coordinator for the cemetery, wreaths were dedicated for the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard and  Merchant Marines. In addition, was a wreath dedicated specifically for those whose last known status was as a prisoner of war or missing in action.

Carter said the number of wreaths is growing both at Mountain Home and across the nation.

Last year, the Wreaths Across America foundation placed more than 1.2 million wreaths at 1,200 locations. This year they're placing more than 1.5 million wreaths at 1,400 locations.

Mountain Home also saw the increase in donated wreaths.

"We had donors who purchased about 5,200 wreaths. But there are so many donors across the country that they had a lot of wreaths that were unallocated that didn’t sponsor Arlington or Mountain Home or some cemetery somewhere else," said Carter.

Those unallocated wreaths are split up among locations that need them, including Mountain Home, raising the number of graves honored at Mountain Home to nearly 8,000.

After the ceremony, volunteers got to work.

Spread out across the cemetery were stacks of boxes containing wreaths; participants opened them and took their time gingerly placing wreaths on every other headstone.

Each volunteer was instructed to place the wreath, step back for a moment, say the name on the headstone and, if they were so inclined, salute.

Army veteran Bob Keith attended the ceremony for the first time Saturday. He was accompanied by his wife, Barb, and daughter Savanna. They placed a wreath on his brother's grave and saluted, saying his name.

Keith said placing the wreaths on graves for Christmas is wonderful.

"There just aren't enough wreaths," he said. His wife Barb agreed: "It would nice to have a wreath on every grave."

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