LA GRANDE – Honoring our veterans, both those who have passed and the ones still with us, isn’t just restricted to designated holidays. Every December, the members of American Legion Post 43 in La Grande go out of their way to honor fallen veterans through the placing of wreaths.
Known as Wreaths Across America, the simple tribute takes place every year around mid-December and sees American Legion volunteers placing roughly fifty wreaths around the Veterans Circle at the Hillcrest Cemetery in La Grande. Rebar mounts, each planted in the ground, are used to hold the wreaths, which stay up until New Year’s Eve. As described by Post Commander Dave Matott:
“It’s just to honor all our fallen veterans from over the years, most of them are combat veterans. They’ve all served in-country, most of them. It’s just an easy way to honor them, so that’s how we do that.”
While normally undertaken by the members of the Legion, the public are free to volunteer. For those interested in helping this year, volunteers will meet at Legion Post 43 (301 Fir St, La Grande, OR 97850) at roughly 7:00 a.m. on Saturday, December 16. Though happy to place the wreaths each year, Matott did mention that he wouldn’t mind having some younger volunteers help out:
“Find some young guys that got all the energy in the world to pound that rebar. Us old guys, we’ve seen our better days pounding rebar.”