In Killeen, Thanksgiving is not the only annual event in November; there is also the laying of the wreaths at the Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery.
The coronavirus pandemic is not stopping Wreaths for Vets, the organization that organizes the wreath laying, from holding the annual event the Saturday after Thanksgiving.
Preparation will take place at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Killeen Special Events Center, 3301 S. W.S. Young Drive.
In order to prepare, the more than 11,000 wreaths need to be fluffed and adorned with a bow. Every grave at the cemetery gets its own wreath during the holidays.
Along with wearing a mask, other precautions Jean Shine, the founder of Wreaths for Vets, said will be taken is providing more room inside the Special Events Center.
“We are going to spread the tables out more,” Shine said over the phone Tuesday.
She said there is a way those coming can help in that regard.
“We are asking people to bring their own folding table,” Shine said.
She said that bringing tables from home will help with the social distancing.
Preparation of the wreaths normally draws around 500 people. The Special Events Center has a max capacity of around 1,600, Shine said.
The laying of the wreaths will happen Nov. 28 at 10 a.m. at the cemetery.
Parking at the cemetery is limited. A park and ride program will be offered at Texas A&M University-Central Texas, 1001 Leadership Place. People can park in the parking lot and ride one of 10 buses to the cemetery.
The ceremony at the cemetery will be a little different than years past, Shine said.
There will be a prayer, instructions for placing the wreaths at the graves and then taps will be played, Shine said. Normally, there is a guest speaker.
After the prayer, instruction and taps, family members of those buried there will be given the first opportunity to lay a wreath, followed by the rest of the volunteers.