Volunteer Bruce Farmer pays respect to veterans on Saturday, Wreaths Across America Day, in Mt. Hope Cemetery.

Community honors veterans on Wreaths Across America Day

Bob Foos

JROTC cadets, accompanied by Scouts, lay wreaths at the Veterans Monument in Mt. Hope Cemetery as part of Saturday’s Wreaths Across America ceremony.

The JROTC colorguard and Legionaires stand at attention prior to the start of the ceremony.

Event organizer Susie Crutcher was a little overwhelmed Saturday by the support Wreaths Across America has received for the second year in a row to honor all 1,200 veterans buried in Mt. Hope Cemetary.

“I’m thankful to live in a community with so many patriots and donors,” she told the crowd during a ceremony before the wreaths were placed with respect by Webb City High School JROTC cadets, Scout Troop 25 and numerous volunteers.

JROTC instructor Lt. Col. Dustin Elder spoke to the purpose of paying gratitude to our current and past veterans. “The freedom we enjoy has not come without a price.”

Mayor Lynn Ragsdale noted Webb City was part of a nationwide event, National Wreaths Across America Day, which occurs annually in December. “We join those across America we know and do not know gathered for the same cause – the right to freedom.”

In fact, Wreaths Across America is reporting that Webb City was one of 4,225 participating locations, including Arlington National Cemetery.

The 1,200 fresh evergreen wreaths were trucked to Webb City with an escort by the Patriot Riders veterans motorcycle unit.

One improvement from the first Wreaths Across America Day in Webb City last year was the creation of shepherd hooks to hang the wreaths.

Travis Boyd, general manager of Mt. Hope Cemetery, thanked Boyd Metals for donating the metal rods and local resident Bob Black for volunteering to bend them one at a time in his garage.

Elder called for a round of applause for Susie Crutcher as he said, “Webb City has a diamond in the rough with her.” As he gave her a hug, culminating the planning the collaboration they’ve had, he said, “You’re the one that makes it (the event) run.”

Donations are still being accepted for Wreaths Across America Day 2023. It costs $17 to sponsor one wreath.

For every two wreaths sponsored for Mt. Hope, Wreaths Across America will donate one. The organization’s goal is to “gratefully remember, honor, and teach! We don’t know them all – but we owe them all!”

Lt. Col. Dustin Elder salutes as Madalynn Arnall plays “Taps.”

Patriot Riders

Susie Crutcher hands out wreaths reserved by donors.