Americans laid tens of thousands of wreaths at cemeteries across the country Saturday. Evergreen wreaths with hand-tied velveteen bows, simple gestures to honor our nation's veterans.
Dozens packed the auditorium at the Grand Island Veterans' Home for a ceremony that concluded what Governor Dave Heineman proclaimed as Wreaths Across America Week.
"It's very touching and it's an honor to participate by coming and having the Patriot Guard, the American Legion, and everybody else come in and pay the veterans tribute," said Michael Nieting, who served during the Vietnam War era.
Wreaths Across America began with one man in 1992, and in 2006 became a national campaign to remember veterans during the holiday season. Its mission is to remember the fallen, honor those who serve, and teach children the value of freedom.
"It helps the living to continue so they can look at the older veterans here and remember they led us, they taught us. So now in our time, it's time for us to lead and teach ours, our young servicemen, what this is all about, and it is about the freedom," said veteran Roger Schleicher. "We needed to do this. It's just the right thing to do, honor the veterans from the Civil War to now. It's just a pleasure to do it."
Schleicher is both a veteran and a member of the Patriot Guard Riders of Nebraska, which organized the Grand Island ceremony. He said he sponsored the event because it's a worthwhile cause.
"It means an awful lot. We need to pass on and teach our children and our grandchildren what this is all about because this is where the true history is at, is with the veterans."