Downpours could not stop the Clemson and Central 300 + volunteers who came out for the third year in a row to remember the lives of the communities’ 800 veterans at rest in the nine cemeteries supported by our local Wreaths Across America (WAA) programs.
We need your support for the 2022 December 17 Wreath Laying. There is a matching program going on until Jan 14, 2022. Go to wreathsacrossamerica.org/SC0164 and purchase 2 wreaths for $30. Our program will receive 5 wreaths!!!
The local ceremonies are similar to the one at Arlington National Cemetery. Our 3 JROTC High School color guards were from D.W. Daniel, Liberty, and Pickens. Pastors from local churches led us in prayer as we honored the lives of these heroes. Speakers read A Veteran's Wreath describing the ten bunches of fresh Maine balsam making up the wreath which is a symbol of Honor, Respect, and Victory. Senator Rex Rice attended several ceremonies and SC Senators and Congressmen who could not attend sent letters. Clemson Mayor Robert Halfacre and Mayor-Elect Andrew Beckner, both town’s Council members, and Police and Fire departments, and BSA Scouts and Girl Scouts participated as well.
Ceremonial Wreaths representing the seven branches of service and the POW/MIA were presented by 32 veterans from all the branches of service. We even had a Korean War Veteran present a wreath. Doug Broome played the bagpipes at the beginning at Memory Gardens and Doug Henry played Taps. Abel-Golden View and Mt. Zion had JROTC buglers play Taps. School children and others led us in the Pledge of Allegiance after which local vocalist Elana Purvis and Claudia Brockman sang our National Anthem at three ceremonies. Pastor Cedric Brockman, Abel Baptist Church, and his wife were pleased with their first ceremony and look forward to next year. Photographer John Bolton donated his talent and photographs again this year at two events.
Memory Gardens held their first ceremony with help from Fort Prince George Chapter and the Walhalla Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution. The eerie fog and drizzle before the rain reminded the volunteers that the veterans fought in the fog and rain to protect us. This year six family members of Roy Collins, who passed, honored him by sitting in the Ceremonial Wreath chairs. The family has a combined service time of 214 years and 5 months.
Janie Collins moderated the annual ceremony under a tent at Mt. Zion during a pouring rain that let up just in time for the wreath laying. She was absolutely amazed that over 100 volunteers showed up in the rain!
On Sunday, White Oak Springs Missionary Baptist church members and Pastor Russell Oglesby honored their veterans at their cemetery for the second year. Then Pastor Morris Henderson and New Olive Grove Missionary Baptist Church held their service and ceremony that ending with wreath laying.
The ability to honor our veterans would not be possible without the public’s purchase of wreaths and the continued sponsorship of the City of Clemson and the Town of Central, Central Historical Society, Clemson Lowes, Mullinex Tree Service, Central’s Rails 133 restaurant, Ralph Hayes Toyota of Anderson, Clemson Tiger Lily Flowers, Clemson Tiger Town Graphics, Memory Gardens and Duckett Robinson Funeral home, and Joe’s NY Pizza.