A lone wreath adorns Montana’s Capitol rotunda, placed their Monday in honor of veterans and active duty military personnel in an event mirrored across the country.
Similar ceremonies were occurring at every statehouse in the country through Wreaths Across America. The Daughters of the American Revolution Oro Fino Chapter sponsored Montana’s event, laying the wreath to a crowd of about 25 veterans, military personnel and supporters.
Wreaths Across America started in 1992 when thousands of graves were decorated at Arlington National Cemetery. In 2007 it was founded as a national nonprofit, and now more than a million wreaths are placed at national cemeteries, statehouses and other locations as a sign of remembrance during the holiday season.
“Today we remember early American patriots. Today we remember the many generations of heroes that have served and continue to serve so that Americans’ precious liberty may be preserved and protected from all enemies, foreign and domestic,” said Jane Lee Hamman, regent with the Montana State Society of the Daughters of the Revolution. “Generation after generation, their sacrifices and the sacrifice of their families are beyond measure.”
Brig. Gen. Jeffery Ireland with Montana National Guard reminded attendees that the freedoms Americans enjoy comes with vigilance.
“Those things we cherish so much are not shared throughout the world, and there are those that would take it away from us,” he said. “Terrorist attacks and other events attempt to challenge our freedoms and our ways of life. They aim to create fear and intimidation and try to break our will. But our will is strong and will not break.
“Although we can never repay them, events like these supported by Wreaths Across America give us cause to remember, to appreciate and to honor those who served, and most importantly to pay respect to those who’ve served and are no longer with us.”
Ireland and Maj. Joshua Clement were charged with placing the wreath on its stand. They approached, and after placing it stood back and saluted.
The wreath will remain in the Capitol through December.
Clement echoed earlier speakers on the importance of remembering the sacrifices of veterans and honoring active duty service members, calling the laying of the wreath “an outstanding way to pay tribute to the men and women who’ve served this country.”
“It’s such a blessing to be an American and such a blessing to be a Montanan.”