Bogalusa will join ‘Wreaths Across America’ on Dec. 15th

Published 4:50 am Wednesday, December 12, 2018

This story is written by Emma Dixon, for The Daily News:

Recently, we all watched in awe and reverence the services for George H.W. Bush, the 41st president of the United States; with thoughts of hope and anticipation and heartfelt emotions for the ideals and principles for the realization of the American democracy crafted by the framers of the constitution.

For me, the most poignant of the Bush story and legacy was the dedication to service of his country, as a world leader, as a World War II-wounded soldier and his family and friends. The words echoed over and over again were patriot, servant and friend.

And my vision and mind’s eye reflected on the phrase from the biblical verse, “This is my commandment, That you love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for this friends” (John 15:12-13).

On Saturday, Dec. 15, at 11 a.m. local Central time and concurrent with noon Eastern time at Arlington National Cemetery, we will commemorate the eighth annual Bogalusa “Wreaths Across America” event at Bogalusa Cemetery, Duffy Cemetery in Lee’s Creek and Robinson Cemetery in Varnado.

Wreaths Across America’s story began over 15 years ago, when Morrill and Karen Worcester of the Worcester Wreath Company from Harrington, Maine, began a tradition of placing wreaths on the headstones of our nation’s fallen heroes at Arlington National Cemetery during the holidays.

The mission of Wreaths Across America is to remember the fallen, honor those who serve and teach our children the value of freedom, and to commemorate our Bogalusa servicemen who have served and in many instances given their lives in duty for the freedoms we enjoy in our country today.

When I initiated and implemented the Bogalusa Wreaths Across America program in Bogalusa in 2010, in partnership with the Toxie Camp Bogalusa Disabled Veterans (DAV) and the Veterans of Foreign Wars, it is because I was motivated to honor my granduncle Pvt. George Bailey, who was killed in action in World War I in 1918. This year marks the 100th anniversary since the loss to our family and his remains have never be recovered.

Then-president George H.W. Bush often spoke of “a kinder and gentler nation,” and my personal hope is for a kinder and friendly/gentler Bogalusa. In describing President Bush words often used were duty, sacrifice and honor. Many remembered his character and integrity.

Bogalusa native and poet laureate, Yusef Komunyakaa, Pulitzer Prize winner recently recognized by the New York Times Style Magazine, wrote a poem titled “Facing It,” on the Vietnam War and Andrew Johnson. Johnson was the first solider from Washington Parish killed in action in the Vietnam War. A video streaming Komunyakaa reading the “Facing It” poem will be highlighted at the Bogalusa Cemetery event near the commemorative sign. The Bogalusa High School Jr. ROTC will present an honor guard and flags and Worcester wreaths along with flags will be placed on the headstones of all veterans at the Bogalusa, Duffy and Robinson cemeteries.

Emma Dixon is the Bogalusa site coordinator for “Wreaths Across America.”