From left to right, Duff Mitchell, Army National Guard veteran, Bill Clutton, Army veteran, and Tom Dawson, Navy veteran stand in a line holding wreaths during a laying of wreaths ceremony for National Wreaths Across America Day on Saturday afternoon. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

From left to right, Duff Mitchell, Army National Guard veteran, Bill Clutton, Army veteran, and Tom Dawson, Navy veteran stand in a line holding wreaths during a laying of wreaths ceremony for National Wreaths Across America Day on Saturday afternoon. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

Juneau residents and veterans commemorate Wreaths Across America Day

The annual ceremony is observed in thousands of locations across the country.

Around a dozen Juneau residents and veterans gathered at the Alaska Memorial Park at noon Saturday for a laying of wreaths for National Wreaths Across America Day, a ceremony observed by more than 3,000 locations across the country every year on the day.

“It’s to remember the people who have passed and served,” said Robert Smith, who served in the Coast Guard from 1977-1993 and was one of the eight people who participated in the ceremony. “Some of our friends are here, comrades.”

Tom Dawson, a Navy veteran, stands beside a wreath during a laying of wreaths ceremony for National Wreaths Across America Day on Saturday afternoon. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

Tom Dawson, a Navy veteran, stands beside a wreath during a laying of wreaths ceremony for National Wreaths Across America Day on Saturday afternoon. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

Sarah Hieb, a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, led the event and gave a speech about the importance of the wreath ceremony and what it symbolizes. The ceremony has been observed in Juneau formally for the past four years with the support of the American Legion Auke Bay Post 25, Hieb said. She explained each wreath represents the memory of those who served in the U.S. military, and the ceremony is observed to honor the veterans and what their service and legacy have done for the country.

Duff Mitchell, a veteran of the Army National Guard, said Juneau is home to more than 2,200 veterans, and the American Legion Auke Bay Post 25 is there to support those veterans and their families, which includes participating in ceremonies like the wreath laying.

A wreath sits on the ground after being placed during a laying of wreaths ceremony for National Wreaths Across America Day on Saturday afternoon. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

A wreath sits on the ground after being placed during a laying of wreaths ceremony for National Wreaths Across America Day on Saturday afternoon. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

“We’re here to observe and remember, and to support veterans,” Mitchell said.

• Contact reporter Clarise Larson at clarise.larson@juneauempire.com or (651)-528-1807. Follow her on Twitter at @clariselarson.

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