Retired Command Sgt. Maj. Philip Johndrow salutes at a veteran’s grave as his wife, Lanette, prepares to place a wreath at the Killeen City Cemetery on Saturday.

KILLEEN — Fort Hood Chaplain Capt. Matthew Granahan, 3rd Cavalry Regiment, brought his wife, Darci, and four young sons to the Killeen City Cemetery on Saturday.

Granahan participated in a brief ceremony, offering a prayer before a small crowd of volunteers who had come to lay wreaths on veterans’ graves.

The Heart of Texas Bass Anglers, who are all military veterans, were looking for a way to give back to those who have served the country and contacted Wreaths Across America earlier this year, according to Lynn Bilberry, spokesman for the group.

Wreaths Across America groups around the U.S. placed 1.5 million live balsam wreaths on veterans’ graves in 1,422 cemeteries on Saturday.

This was the first time wreaths were laid at the Killeen City Cemetery, Bilberry said.

Sgt. Chih Lin of the 1st Cavalry Division Band played Taps after Granahan’s prayer.

Lin was touched by the spirit of the event. “I’m doing this as an honor for those people who served the country,” he said.

Volunteers eventually moved across the cemetery to lay wreaths on the graves of 113 World War I and World War II veterans.

“Our goal is to place wreaths on every veterans grave here next year,” Bilberry said during the ceremony.

Granahan and his family laid a number of wreaths, pausing at each grave to speak the veteran’s name and thank them for their service.

Retired Command Sgt. Maj. Philip Johndrow made a point to salute at each grave where he and his wife, Lanette, laid a wreath.

The effort reflects the Wreaths Across America motto: Remember, Honor, Teach.

Renee Christian, 15, daughter of Robert Christian, Jr, president of the Heart of Texas Bass Anglers, welcomed volunteers to the cemetery and asked them to pause in a moment of silence honoring the deceased veterans. “They are the ones who help me sleep in bed safely each night,” she said.

jferraro@kdhnews.com | 254-501-7568

254-501-7568 | jferraro@kdhnews.com

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