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Mount Rose Cemetery Part of ‘Wreaths Across America’

Mount Rose Cemetery in Moundsville and Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, will have something in common today (Saturday). Both cemeteries will have wreaths laid in honor of military veterans who are buried at the two locations. There will also be wreaths laid at cemeteries throughout the United States.

The program is called: “Wreaths Across America.”

This will be the first time that Marshall County has been a part of this undertaking.

The Moundsville Lions Club undertook this endeavor, which entitled local individuals, organizations and businesses to purchase the wreaths.

In fact, money for the local wreaths was more than needed, and as result 41 wreaths which will be laid at the Arlington National Cemetery will have been paid for by local people.

There will be 245 wreaths placed at Mount Rose, while seven others will be part of a program earlier Saturday morning at the Veterans’ Plaza on the grounds of the Marshall County Courthouse.

If you have ever visited Arlington National Cemetery, you would have seen white crosses on expansive green lawns.

The rich history of the cemetery encompasses political intrigue, a record of the nation’s wars, and one thing above all: it commemorates more than some 270,000 men and women who sacrificed their lives in the defense of liberty.

Many famous people are interred at the Arlington National Cemetery.

Of course, thousands of less famous veterans are buried at Arlington also. Most of these veterans are either buried in marked graves, or their ashes are contained in urns in the Columbarium.

Everyday as many as 20 funeral ceremonies are performed at the Arlington cemetery.

The property encompassing the Arlington cemetery belonged originally to George Washington Parke Custis, the adopted grandson of George and Martha Washington. He planned to name his property Mount Washington in honor of the first United States president, but he was persuaded to name it Arlington in recognition of the family’s ancestral estate in the tidewater region of Virginia.

The Tomb of the Unknowns is one of the most visited at Arlington National Cemetery. When the first serviceman was interred at the site in 1921, it was known as the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The name was changed when the unidentified remains of two casualties from World War II and the Korean War were added in 1958.

It is perhaps the most revered piece of ground in the United States, and it is guarded at every hour of every day by Tomb Guard Sentinels, drawn from the elite of the 3rd Infantry — “The Old Guard.”

You may be wondering how the Moundsville Lions and Mount Rose Cemetery became involved with the “Wreaths Across America” program.

It all started with Danielle Harmon, MSgt, USAF (Ret), who moved to Marshall County some two years ago after retiring from the military.

On October 2019 the planners for the dedication ceremony for the new Veterans Plaza on the lawn of the Marshall County Courthouse were looking for someone to sing the National Anthem & Battle Hymn of the Republic and it just so happened that Howard Coffield knew of Harmon, as they were both in the choir at Limestone Presbyterian Church. Coffield knew she was a retired veteran and would be just the person for the program.

Moving ahead some three weeks, Harmon was back in the limelight, as while in attendance at the annual Memorial Day program at Center Elementary School she stood up when asked by master of ceremonies Bob Blazer asked veterans in attendance to stand up.

One of the persons in attendance was Gary Rider, who annually publishes a book titled, “Patriots and Heroes,” which tells the stories of Marshall County veterans.

Rider spoke with Harmon following the program and asked her if she would like to be interviewed in his next book which would be released in November 2020; she agreed and not only is her 24-year military career in the book, but she also wrote the introduction for the book.

Getting back to Rider, he didn’t stop with just asking her to tell her story, but invited her to join the Moundsville Lions Club, he being the president at that time.

In January of this year she joined the Lions Club, and following that Rider asked her and two other new members at the time, Tom Cook and Carole Blake Wood, to come up with a project to which local persons could participate

They decided on the “Wreaths Across America.”

Harmon herself had been involved while stationed at Fort Meade, Maryland, which is close to Arlington. She has had the opportunity to place wreaths on veterans graves on several occasions.

The work of the three Lions Club members involved got approval of the directors of a local cemetery, in this case that person being Jim Stultz who happens to be the only director of Mount Rose who is also a retired military officer.

The next step was to submit the information to those in charge of “Wreaths Across America” for their approval.

Once getting approval, the Lions Club members began promoting the sale of the wreaths. Stultz stated that he was very pleased to have been asked to have Mount Rose become involved with cemeteries throughout the nation.

He pointed out that Mount Rose is some 221 years old, and that some of those buried there date back to the Revolutionary War and Civil War.

“Some of the veterans buried at Mount Rose had returned from the military, and became leaders of the Moundsville community,” Stultz said.

I did a little research on how “Wreaths Across America” became so well known.

It came about as the result of a former newspaper carrier who was impressed by a visit to the Arlington National Cemetery. Morrill Worchester, the owner of the Worchester Wreath Company in Harrington, Maine, was a 12-year-old paper boy for the Bangor Daily News in his city and when he won a trip to Washington, D.C., with one of the attractions being the Arlington National Cemetery.

As it turned out in 1992, the Worchester Wreath firm had a surplus of wreaths near the end of the holiday season and, remembering his boyhood experience at Washington, D.C., he thought it would be nice if some of the surplus wreaths could go to the Arlington National Cemetery, and he contacted a Maine senator about this happening.

However, prior to this taking place Worchester sent seven wreaths to every state in the United States, the seven wreaths representing the number of military branches.

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Moundsville Baptist Church has for some 40 years appeared on television on Christmas Eve, and although the event will be held this year, there will be a different type of production.

Instead of the choir taking part as in the past, there will be musical excerpts from previous broadcasts (1993-2017).

It will be called, “Christmas Through the Years” and will be broadcast at 11:30 p.m. on Christmas Eve, on WTRF.

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The current Elizabethtown Festival members had a similar problem. For more than 20 years the festival had been held indoors, but it was necessary to come up with an outside event.

That resulted in changing the name to Elizabethtown Village, an outside scene with six crafters’ booths, along with more than 100 Christmas Trees.

One of the trees was a 15- foot lighted tree flanked on each side by four smaller trees honoring the each of the eight elementary and primary schools in Marshall County.

Committee members became tree sellers, hoping to sell 100 trees in five weeks.

They met their goal.

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According to Gene Saunders, a member of Moundsville Salvation Army advisory board, the amount of money collected at the Red Kettles this year has been very close among three volunteer groups. Calvary United Methodist Church has collected the most, with the Moundsville Lions Club, second, and Moundsville Rotary Club, third. The difference between the last two was $4.

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Cameron American Legion Post No. 18 and the Legion’s Auxiliary Unit No. 18 will be hosting their annual Christmas Dinner on Christmas Day at the Legion’s Annex Building.

This year it will not be a dine-in, but instead a carry-out, with delivery being available. The preparers of the meal are the American Legion, American Auxiliary, and the Sons of American Legion.

Anyone who would like a meal, is asked to phone the Legion at 304-686-3161 or 304-686-3462. This traditional dinner has been served by the Legion for some 40 years.

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The Marshall County commissioners this past week approved the employment of Carson Barber of Glen Dale as deputy sheriff. He assumed his duties on Wednesday.

Also, long-time Marshall County Sewerage District Board member John Blair was re-appointed to the position

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A Celtic Christmas — performed by Carol Weakland –has been arranged for 6:30 p.m., Monday, by the Moundsville-Marshall County Public Library.

It will take place on Zoom or Facebook Live of the library. Actor and author Weakland will perform as Maeve McGee, sharing a host of holiday customs along with stories and songs from Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

Her performance will come from Dylan Thomas’ “A Child’s Christmas in Wales,”which will feature a few ghostly and magical tales. Singing along at home will be highly recommended.

This free event will be less than an hour long and is being sponsored by the Robert Baker Family.

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MERRY CHRISTMAS.

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