Veterans pg 3 12-7-17

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A program that began in 1992 when the Worcester Wreath Company of Harington, Maine, found itself with a surplus of wreaths has grown into a program of national stature known as “Wreaths  Across America.”
At noon Dec. 16 the community of Putnam, along with towns throughout America, will pause in a minute of silence to remember the fallen, the prisoners of war, the missing in action, and honor those who have served and are serving this great  nation’s armed services. The Putnam ceremony that will take place at Veterans Memorial Park is coordinated  by the Mayotte-Viens American Legion Post #13 and the Albert J. Breault VFW Post #!523. Public welcome.
In 2008 the U.S. Congress voted unanimously to honor veterans in December as  Wreaths Across America Day.” That year, wreath laying ceremonies were held in 300 locations in every state.  By 2012, the number of locations had grown to 545 sites involving more than 220,000 volunteers. This year more than 1,100 ceremonies will be held simultaneously  across our great nation.
The mission of “Wreaths Across America” is to Remember and Honor those who served, those who gave their lives in defense of our country and those who are serving today.  And to Teach our children the value of freedom.
“As veterans we’re proud to offer this program to the Putnam community. Our volunteers have worked diligently in putting together a program of remembrance and honor with the goal of teaching the lesson of freedom.  This program gives us reason to remember those who gave their lives, and to pause and thank all those who have served and are currently serving in our military forces;," said Ronald P. Coderre, commander of Post #l3.
Following the minute of silence at exactly noon, the program will open with the singing of the National Anthem by U.S. Air Force veteran Maurice Coderre.  In the presence of the combined Honor Guards of the American Legion and VFW, wreaths will be laid in memory of those who served and are serving in the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard and Merchant Marines.  An individual wreath will be laid in remembrance of the 93,129 service personnel from all branches whose last known status was either Prisoner of War or Missing in Action.
Reflections will be offered  by Putnam Mayor Norman “Barney” Seney.  Daniel Rovero, State Representative from the 5151 Assembly  District and a U.S. Army veteran, will also be on hand for the ceremony.   The reflections will be followed by the tossing of a remembrance wreath into the Quinebaug River by American  Legion Commander Coderre and Norman Beaupre, commander of the VFW.  The ceremonial  wreath tossing will be followed by Taps performed by members of the Putnam High School band, followed  by a rifle volley.
After the closing of the ceremony, the Honor Guard will disburse to local cemeteries and bridges where they with honor veterans by placing wreaths at each location.  The day will also mark the formal retirement of the :flags on the Veterans Memorial Bridge on Pomfret Street.  The flags will be retired until Memorial Day 2018 when they will once again fly until Wreaths Across America 2018.
“This is a meaningful ceremony  of remembrance and honor to our veterans.  We’re encouraging people to pause on that day and join in the ceremony at Veterans Memorial Park.  As the country and our community prepare to celebrate our holidays, it’s appropriate to take time to remember,” said Coderre.
The program is coordinated  by the two service organizations in cooperation  with the Town of Putnam.

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