By Anthony Scott
Killeen Daily Herald
The demand for volunteers and wreaths is growing as the number of graves at the Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery continues to increase.
The Friends of the Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery have laid wreaths on each veteran's grave for the past three years on the Saturday following Thanksgiving. Volunteers expect to place 800 more wreaths this year than in 2009.
"Our World War II vets are getting old and our Vietnam vets are getting older, too, and we have our current war," FCTVC president Jean Shine said. "This cemetery is for all of Central Texas. We really need everyone to participate."
Volunteers are prepared to place about 2,400 wreaths this weekend, but more volunteers are needed, Shine said. The cemetery has enough space to eventually house around 50,000 gravesites, she said.
The wreath-laying will be at 10 a.m., Saturday at the Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery, south of Killeen on State Highway 195.
Visitors with relatives and friends buried in the cemetery will be allowed to lay wreaths first. Volunteers will then place wreaths on the remaining graves.
Motorcyclists will escort the wreaths to the cemetery. The riders will congregate at 8 a.m. Saturday at Towne Services, 3101 E. Veterans Memorial Blvd. The ride is expected to leave at 8:45 a.m.
More information about the project can be found at www.wreathsforvets.org.
Shine said the idea for adorning each grave came after she attended a ceremony where individual branches of the military were given wreaths. After seeing graves without wreaths, she decided to organize the FCTVC.
"It's so peaceful; it's so calming; you look at it and you see thousands of wreaths out there and it just brings this feeling over you," Shine said. "You are just amazed by it. It's putting it all together. It's saying thank you. It seems like such a small things but it means so much to the families."
Contact Anthony Scott at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7568. Follow him on Twitter at KDHcity.