Midshipmen, Sailors, officers and volunteers from the local community took part in the Wreaths Across America wreath-laying ceremony at the U.S. Naval Academy's cemetery, Dec. 12.
More than 2,000 remembrance wreaths were placed on the headstones of midshipmen and distinguished alumni.
Vice Adm. Ted Carter, superintendent of the U.S. Naval Academy, delivered remarks prior to the event, reminding everyone in attendance of the importance of commemorating those who have gone before us.
"The laying of these wreaths or the placing of flags on graves during Independence Day or on 9/11 is part of an annual cycle of remembrance, which is part of the gift we give back to those who lost their life in defense of this country," said Carter. "This is the time we take a moment and remember the freedoms they died for as we stand on this ground."
Midshipman 3rd Class Mckenzie Barnett, this year's event organizer, said she was inspired by her brother to coordinate Wreaths Across America at the Academy. This is her second year organizing the event and she shared the view of many in attendance.
"I was originally introduced to it because of my brother who was part of the wreath laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery in 2011 with the Navy Ceremonial Guard," said Barnett. "Wreaths Across America has an especially powerful impact because it reminds us of why we too want to serve, and what the ultimate sacrifice really means. It's an opportunity to commemorate our past heroes and inspire our future leaders."
An estimated 725,000 wreaths were be placed across the country on National Wreaths Across America Day, Dec. 13.
Wreaths Across America is a national nonprofit organization founded in 2007 to continue and expand the annual wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery begun by Maine businessman, Morrill Worcester, in 1992. Since 2008, Congress has issued a proclamation officially recognizing national "Wreaths Across America Day" each December. This year's theme is, "Remember, Honor, Teach - Don't Say I Should Have, Say I Did!"