Wreaths Across America honored military veterans across the country and around the world with some modifications to accommodate social distancing and health
guidelines. Carter Express team drivers Andy and Michele Riddle have volunteered for Wreaths Across America at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio for nearly a decade and said they consider the event “a blessing.”
Delivering the Wreaths
The team picked up their load of hand-made balsam wreaths in Maine and drove two days to reach Fort Sam Houston. “Normally, we stay in San Antonio for the ceremony but with COVID in the mix this year, we did not,” Michele said. “That was so different and heartbreaking because, as important as it is to take the load of wreaths to [San Antonio], laying wreaths during the ceremony is just as important to us.”
Different from Previous Years
Instead of an on-site ceremony with as many as 16,000+ volunteers attending, this year the event was organized as a drive-through experience with a virtual ceremony. “We encourage everyone to please take the time to watch the video of the virtual ceremony. You will be blessed!” Michele said.
The speakers included Judy Carlisle, event organizer for Fort Sam Houston, who spoke on the mission of Wreaths Across America, followed by a prayer lead by USMC Pete Arciniega, Chaplain for Wreaths Across America. After the Pledge of Allegiance and National Anthem, representatives of Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery, Aubrey David and Kim Harrington, offered comments. Major Oyedeji Idowu lead a prayer to bless the wreaths and honor the fallen servicemen and women. USAF retired Master Sergeant Bobby Hamilton presented the military wreaths for each branch of service and POWs. Colonel Robert Certain then gave the introduction and prayer to begin laying wreaths.
For this year’s Wreaths Across America event, there were 2,557 participating locations with volunteers placing a total of 1.7 million veterans’ wreaths on their headstones and remembering them by saying each name out loud.
The Riddles encourage anyone interested in volunteering for the event next year, which will be held December 18, 2021, to contact Wreaths Across America to find a location near you. You can also sponsor a wreath through the site.
Carter Express is so proud of Andy and Michele for their selfless giving and dedication to remembering our fallen heroes.
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