At noon on Saturday, December 17, the Parson Roby Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) and Judge Samuel Holten Society Children of the American Revolution sponsored the Wreaths Across America event at Riverside Cemetery. Among those speaking at the ceremony were State Representative Donald Wong, Commander of Veteran’s Council Captain Steve Castinetti, and town officials, including Deb Panetta and other selectmen. Many volunteers came out in very capricious weather to lay wreaths of remembrance at as many veterans’ graves as possible. While the sun had just come out as most people were arriving, clouds soon appeared, and the brisk wind kept the flags flying straight out throughout the ceremony. An icy rain, thankfully brief, fell on those who were seeking graves to honor with wreaths at the end of the ceremony. Alanna Felix beautifully sang our National Anthem. Taps was played on the bugle by Sylvia Renda, state president of the Massachusetts Children of the American Revolution. The benediction was given by Gail Cassarino, chaplain of the Parson Roby Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.
Volunteers from all over Saugus carried the sponsored wreaths to graves in veterans’ plots in the far reaches of the cemetery, in individual and family plots as well as the veterans’ areas, until all the wreaths had been placed. Each person said the veterans’ name aloud and thanked them for their service. Some placed wreaths on the graves of veterans from their own family, and many others placed their wreaths on gravestones of those entirely unfamiliar to them.
The Parson Roby Chapter DAR would like to recognize the following: the Veterans, Salem High School Jr. ROTC led by Sgt. Major Sumner, Vietnam Veteran Gordon Shepard, who has spent countless volunteer hours fixing up the veterans’ areas of the cemetery, John Falasca and the staff of Riverside Cemetery, The Creation & Learning Station Preschool, Saugus Garden Club, the Girl Scouts, Dunkin’ and all of the volunteers and sponsors who helped in honoring our Veterans.
Wreaths Across America is a nationwide program with the goal of placing fir wreaths at the graves of veterans every December, including at Arlington National Cemetery and thousands of other cemeteries across the United States. Here in Saugus, the Parson Roby Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution would like to thank all the Veterans for their service and sacrifice. We also would like to thank all the people that sponsored wreaths and the volunteers that braved the weather to lay wreaths on the veterans’ graves. We all must “Remember,” “Honor” and continue to “Teach” our young people the sacrifice that our veterans made so we can continue to enjoy the freedoms we have. There are 1,500 veterans buried in the Riverside Cemetery and 40 buried in the Old Burying Ground, and although we greatly appreciated the 360 wreaths that were sponsored, it would be so wonderful to have every veteran’s grave sponsored for next year’s Wreaths Across America Day on December 16, 2023.
It is not too early to sponsor a wreath(s) for next year. If you order between now and January 17, 2023, Wreaths Across America will match every wreath purchased. Please go to wreathsacrossamerica.org/MA0136P to sponsor a wreath(s) to honor our fallen heroes on Wreaths Across America Day, December 16, 2023.