Hero’s Bridge and Culpeper National Cemetery participate in Wreaths Across America


“From the Revolutionary War to present day conflicts, our veterans are devoted sons and daughters, fathers and mothers, sisters and brothers. They come from all backgrounds in life to place those lives on the line for our freedoms.” ~ Wreaths Across America

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Colton Burnett with the 11th Civil Engineering Squadron based at Joint Base Andrews, Md., carries wreaths at Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Va., Dec. 15, 2012, during a Wreaths Across America event. (DoD photo by EJ Hersom/Released)

Wreaths Across America is a national initiative, and their mission: “Remember, Honor and Teach is carried out by coordinating wreath-laying ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery, as well as at more than 1,400 additional locations in all 50 U.S. states, at sea and abroad.” (source). Local organizations such as Hero’s Bridge join in this mission each year. On December 15, 2018, Hero’s Bridge will participate, along with other organizations, in a wreath-laying ceremony at Culpeper National Cemetery.

This cemetery, according to the website, is open to “all members of the armed forces who have met a minimum active duty service requirement and were discharged under conditions other than dishonorable. A Veteran’s spouse, widow or widower, minor dependent children, and under certain conditions, unmarried adult children with disabilities may also be eligible for burial. Eligible spouses and children may be buried even if they predecease the Veteran. Members of the reserve components of the armed forces who die while on active duty or who die while on training duty, or were eligible for retired pay, may also be eligible for burial.”

Matthew Priest, director of the cemetery said, “Culpeper National Cemetery was established in 1867, but conducted its first burial in 1866. Since its inception, local patrons and organizations from across Virginia have dedicated their time, energy, and resources to support this national cemetery. It is because of that great support, we strive to be the model of excellence for burial and memorials for our Nation’s Veterans and their families.”

In 2017, Hero’s Bridge participated in Wreaths Across America, memorializing those interred in this cemetery. The wreath-laying event placed approximately 4,800 wreaths at the Culpeper cemetery, and the this year is to have 10,500 grave sites covered with a wreath. Priest said,  “Last year, we had another record turnout for the event. As you know, that number increases daily.”

“Partnering with patriotic organization such as Hero’s Bridge to support our annual Wreaths Across America ceremony would be astonishing,” Priest shared. “My goal of having a wreath placed at every gravesite is a simple, yet humbling gesture. We do this [wreath-laying] every year to thank those who have fought and died for our country.”

He noted, “It is our patriotic duty to make certain we never forget the sacrifices made to enjoy the basic freedoms we have today. With help from Hero’s Bridge, as well as other community partners, we can accomplish that goal,” shared Priest. “They say you die twice; the first death is when breath leaves your body for the last time; the second death is when no one speaks your name again. Our mission is to ensure that second death does not take place for those who have given so much to this great nation.”

How Hero’s Bridge helps…

Hero’s Bridge, is a nonprofit 501 (c) 3 organization dedicated to serving older veterans, age 65 and older. Their mission is to serve, stand by, and honor aging veterans anywhere they live, and at no expense to aging heroes or their families. Each wreath purchased will not only honor those laid to rest in Culpeper National Cemetery, but will also assist the older veterans Hero’s Bridge serves, as Wreaths Across America provides fundraising dollars to organizations, such as Hero’s Bridge, to assist in their missions and projects.

Hero’s Bridge seeks partners for the December 15, 2018 wreath-laying event. Join the mission this year and sponsor one or more wreaths to honor those buried in the Culpeper cemetery and who served our nation at great personal sacrifice.

To learn more about Hero’s Bridge visit www.herosbridge.org or email them at info@herosbridge.org. For more information regarding Culpeper National Cemetery call 540-825-0027 or visit www.cem.va.gov.