Tim Ketchum and Tim Ketchum Jr. visiting Arlington National Cemetery
Individuals who served in the United States military are being remembered.
Wreaths Across America (WAA) is heading overseas this year.
Members of the national non-profit are placing wreaths at Normandy American Cemetery in Colleville-sur-Mer, France on Saturday.
More than 9,300 arrangements will go on the headstones of United States veterans, according to a release.
The Normandy American Cemetery and American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) are working together to place the wreaths at the site, which is among 14 American World War II cemeteries located in other countries.
ABMC, a federal agency, seeks to recognize members of the United States armed forces who served in World War I and World War II.
“The Normandy American Cemetery is proud and pleased to be the first ABMC cemetery to have been chosen to attempt this important endeavor,” Normandy American Cemetery Superintendent Scott Desjardins said in a release.
Each arrangement is donated by Morrill Worcester, who founded WAA.
Worcester worked with Olympia Snowe to have 5,000 wreaths laid at Arlington National Cemetery in 1992. WAA was established 15 years later.
Honoring those who served
Timothy Ketchum, a former Prince William County resident, learned about WAA’s plan to place wreaths at the Normandy American Cemetery through an email.
Ketchum, who has participated in WAA in Williamsburg for the past couple of years, said that he thought it was a “great” idea.
He explained that most inhabitants of military cemeteries in the United States, such as Arlington National Cemetery, served and died many years after retiring.
Meanwhile, those buried in European cemeteries died in combat.
“So, I thought it was appropriate to take [the wreaths] over there,” Ketchum said.
He was first introduced to the program at Arlington Cemetery, where he laid wreaths on his parents’ graves prior to WAA’s foundation.
Ketchum’s father, John Ketchum Sr., served as a Navigator on B-17 bomber planes during World War II.
In April 1944, John Ketchum Sr. was shot down in Northern Italy, beyond German lines. He was able to return to the American lines and retired from the military 19 years later.
WAA ceremonies will be taking place on December 15 at an estimated 1,500 sites, including Quantico National Cemeteries (VAQNCT).
More information about the program is available on the WAA website.
© Copyright 2018 What's Up Prince William. All Rights Reserved