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Wreaths Across America faces new challenges

By Steve Ranson Nevada News Group
Wreaths are placed on every veteran’s grave at the Northern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Fernley.
Steve Ranson/LVN

Vets cemetery in Fernley adopts protocol for placing wreaths

Because of the coronavirus pandemic and the governor’s restrictions on people gathering at events, this year’s Wreaths Across American ceremony at the Northern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Fernley will implement a different procedure.

“Over the past several years, we have been able to lay a holiday wreath on ever site with the help of many volunteers,” said Tom Draughon, spokesman for the Nevada Veterans Coalition. “Unfortunately, we will not be able to conduct the event as we have in previous years. With the COVID pandemic still threatening our health and safety, we must make difficult decisions in the way Wreaths Across America will take place.”

Wreaths Across America is Dec. 19. Draughon said the number of people allowed on the cemetery grounds will be limited to 50 people at a time, and visitation will be divided into increments. Furthermore, he said youth groups will help with the placement of wreaths. From 8 a.m. to about 9:45 a.m., Draughon said wreaths specifically requested for veterans’ graves will be laid, and afterward, the day will be divided into 45-minute increments. The last increment begins at 4:45 p.m.



Draughon said the increments are subject to change at any time.

He said wreaths are placed at each veteran’s headstone or along the columbarium each year through the work of volunteers and the NVC. Draughon said the coalition has enough wreaths to honor each veteran, which numbers more than 8,000.



Draughon said people entering the cemetery will be required to wear a face covering and undergo a temperature check upon entering the grounds.

The state’s two veterans’ cemeteries at Fernley and Boulder City come under the control of the Nevada Department of Veterans Services. He said many discussions occurred to determine the most appropriate manner to allow the placement of wreaths while maintaining health and safety.

Draughon said this will also be the seventh consecutive year the cemetery will have wreaths for all the interred veterans, but he added this year’s ceremony will not be like the ones held during previous years.

NDVS Director Kat Miller said the wreaths are entirely funded through private donations in honor of veterans and family members who are placed at the Fernley cemetery.