California Bowling Writers

December 14, 2008

Wreaths Across America 2008
By Mary Lynly

Once again I attended the wreath laying ceremony at the Sacramento Valley National Cemetery. Last year I was pleased to place one of 250 wreaths on my husband Paul’s grave. This year, accompanied by Barbara Metzinger and Seeko Faris, we witnessed the very moving ceremonies prior to the wreath laying.

The cold did not deter the 1500 present soaking up the accolades of all branches of the service, POW/MIA’s and Patriot Ancestors for their love of country and service. A wreath was laid around a massive flagpole for each branch. Loved ones who had family buried here received wreaths first and then the mass moved forward covering the 3700 graves and place a wreath on each one.

The greetings paid homage to our wonderful country and the freedom we have saying things like, “Freedom is not free . . . there is a price” and “We don’t inherit patriotism and we don’t get it through the bloodstream. . . .it must be taught.” The ceremonies were complete with color guards from scouts, the military and the National Society Sons of the American Revolution in early military dress. Following closing remarks the entire crowd was stilled and in salute as the bugler played taps and after the retiring of the flags the air of the Bagpiper was heard.

Considering the miles of cars trying to find a place to park and those standing and seated, with the help of the local police and military the order was amazing. All of this was due to the careful planning and execution of all details by Kathleen and Marston Watson who were in charge and the Anne Loucks Chapter, of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution who sponsored the event. This ceremony was one of 286 that took place at this very same time across the nation.

Wreaths Across America foundation was started by Morrill Worcestor 16 years ago when he noticed there were numerous graves in Arlington that appeared to have no “family.” As the owner of a Wreath making company in Maine, he donated 5,000 wreaths to be laid at these graves and shortly after started the foundation.

To see every grave adorned with a wreath with red ribbon was inspirational beyond description. If you are privileged to attend one of these it will be memorable.

California has been instrumental in spearheading one of the most prolific charities in bowling’s history with the California Bowler’s BVL Fund. Started during WWII the fundraising was eventually followed across the nation as millions of dollars were raised to benefit VA and Military hospitals and Outreach Centers under the heading National BVL Fund. California alone has donated over 11 million to the cause, more than any other state.

Joining in fundraising efforts for our military, the California Bowling Writers Phone Card Charity continues into its fifth year raising money to send 300 minute phone cards to the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. Please check out the thermometer charting progress on our CBW website - Donations may be sent to: CBW –Tina Martin, CBW Treasurer, 57 Shields Lane, Novato, CA 94947-3877