SHERIDAN — Each year, millions of Americans come together to remember the fallen, honor those that serve and their families and teach the next generation about the value of freedom.
This gathering of individuals and communities takes place in local and national cemeteries in all 50 states as part of National Wreaths Across America Day. Locally, the Cloud Peak Composite Squadron of Civil Air Patrol places approximately 180 wreaths on graves in Sheridan, Story and Big Horn. Each year, a new theme is chosen to help local supporters focus the message and outreach in the community. Recently, the national office of Wreaths Across America announced the theme for 2018 is “Be their witness.”
The inspiration for this year’s theme stems from the 2009 drama “Taking Chance,” which was based on the experiences of U.S. Marine Lt. Colonel Michael Strobl, who escorted the body of a fallen Marine, PFC Chance Phelps back to his hometown in Wyoming from the Iraq War.
“I was deeply impacted by this story and found it difficult at times to fathom the burden this young man carried in his task. Lt. Col. Strobl volunteered to be a witness for PFC Phelps, and as the movie so eloquently states, he is now responsible in no small part for PFC Phelps’s legacy,” said Karen Worcester, executive director of Wreaths Across America. “Through the Wreaths Across America program, we are ensuring that the lives of our men and women in uniform are remembered, not their deaths. It is our responsibility as Americans, to be their witness and to share their stories of service and sacrifice with the next generation.”
Sheridan’s Civil Air Patrol cadets will sell wreaths to place on veterans’ graves beginning May 17. Contact the squadron at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Facebook.