SCOTCH PLAINS — Non-profit Wreaths Across America (WAA) has announced that the historic Scotch Plains Baptist Church Cemetery has joined in the effort to support the WAA’s mission to Remember, Honor, Teach, as an official location for 2023. This is the eighth consecutive year that this cemetery will participate in this national event. The cemetery will join numerous locations across the country on Saturday, December 16, in an effort to “Say Their Names.”
WAA is a nationwide program in which wreaths are placed at veterans’ graves in military and private cemeteries to honor those who served and sacrificed. Started in 1992 with the laying of wreaths at Arlington National Cemetery, the program has expanded to more than 4,100 locations in all 50 U.S. states and beyond.
Since the program’s inception, WAA founder Morrill Worcester has always asked volunteers placing remembrance wreaths to take time to read the name on the headstone aloud. During the escort of wreaths to Arlington National Cemetery in December 2015, WAA Executive Director Karen Worcester stated, “A person dies twice: the first time, when they stop breathing, and a second time, when someone says their name for the last time.” Ms. Worcester also notes that, “We’re not here to decorate graves. We here to remember not their deaths, but their lives.”
There are 100 veterans interred in Scotch Plains Baptist Church Cemetery, including several who served in the Revolutionary War. Through the efforts of American Legion Post 209 and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10122, funds have been raised to place remembrance wreaths on their headstones and to say the names of all the local heroes laid to rest there, to ensure that the individuals who served to protect the freedoms of America are not, and never will be, forgotten.
The cemetery is located at 333 Park Avenue at Grand Street near downtown Scotch Plains. The wreath-laying ceremony will start at noon. The public is invited to participate in this program to recognize the dedication, commitment and sacrifice of these veterans in service to America.
For more information on Wreaths Across America and its mission, visit www.wreathsacrossamerica.org. The local contact in Scotch Plains and Fanwood is Joe McCourt. He can be reached by calling (908) 377-9352 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.