San Diego Sailors participate in the 21st Annual Wreaths Across America
by MC2 Charlotte C. Oliver, Navy Public Affairs Support Element West
SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- Service members, veterans, and civilians visited Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery to help lay 3,100 wreaths on the graves of fallen service members, Dec. 14.
The wreaths were laid as part of the National Wreaths Across America Day that is held on the second Saturday of December at Arlington National Cemetery and 800 other veterans' cemeteries nationwide.
The event's keynote speaker was retired Army Lt. Gen. Claude M. Kicklighter, who took time to honor the more than 105,000 service members and merchant marines interred in Fort Rosecrans.
"We take time to honor those who served before us. We recognize the men and women who have fought for our freedom," he said. "We look at the greatest generation, the veterans of World War II, who are too quickly leaving us. Today we honor all of them with liberty and justice for all."
Ceremonial wreaths representing each of the armed forces, merchant marines and POW/MIA service members were presented at the memorial by members of the Westview High School Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps.
"This is the eighth year Fort Rosecrans has been able to participate in Wreaths Across America," said Tim Campion, volunteer coordinator for Wreaths Across America San Diego.
Capt. Scott Adams, commanding officer, Naval Base Point Loma, was present for the ceremony and paid tribute to the fallen Sailors, Marines, Soldiers, Airmen, and Merchant Marines.
"It's incredible," said Adams. "The chaplain did an amazing job with the invocation, but the reading of the poem "On Rosecrans Hill" really envisions what this place is about. What we should recognize is that their sacrifice was not in vain."
Culinary Specialist 2nd Class Damitri Green, participating in his second consecutive Wreaths Across America at Fort Rosecrans was honored for the opportunity to be able to pay tribute and place the ceremonial wreath representing the Navy on the wreath stand.
"It's an honor to come out here for those that sacrificed so much for America," said Green. "Sometimes in the military we become complacent and we forget those that sacrificed for us, today is a reminder of those that came before us."