Veterans honored with Christmas wreaths at two local cemeteries

ST. GEORGE — Veterans buried in the Tonaquint Cemetery and the Shivwits Paiute Indian Cemetery were honored Saturday with a ceremony and the laying of wreaths on their graves by family, friends, descendants, military officers and enlisted personnel.

A group of volunteers started in 1992 with a trailerload of surplus wreaths and laid them on the graves of the fallen soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. Today, that tradition started 23 years ago is known as “Wreaths Across America” and is performed in more than 1,000 cemeteries nationwide.

Wreaths Across America celebrated at Tonaquint Cemetery, St. George, Utah, Dec. 12, 2015 | Photo by Ric Wayman, St. George News
Wreaths Across America celebrated at Tonaquint Cemetery, St. George, Utah, Dec. 12, 2015 | Photo by Ric Wayman, St. George News

A wreath was laid for each branch of the Armed Services, and one for the POW/MIAs. Cadets from the Junior ROTC program laid the wreaths, along with retired veterans from each service branch. After the ceremony, wreaths were placed on all veterans’ graves in the cemeteries. At 10 a.m. at Tonaquint Cemetery, local singer Casey Lofthouse sang the National Anthem and members of the American Legion participated as an honor guard before the wreath laying.

Wreaths Across America celebrated at the Shivwits Band of Paiutes Cemetery, Shivwits, Utah, Dec. 12, 2015 | Photo by Hollie Reina, St. George News
Wreaths Across America celebrated at the Shivwits Band of Paiutes Cemetery, Shivwits, Utah, Dec. 12, 2015 | Photo by Hollie Reina, St. George News

The Shivwits Band of Paiutes held their ceremony at 1:30 p.m. Tribal Chairwoman Corrina Bow was the honored guest. As with the earlier ceremony at Tonaquint, the Patriot Guard Riders stood as the flag line honor guard, the Daughters of the American Revolution were present, and the St. George Composite Squadron Civil Air Patrol were present. A prayer in the native tongue and a song were performed.

St. George News reporter Hollie Reina contributed to this story.

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Email: rwayman@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews | @NewsWayman

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2015, all rights reserved.

 

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