Veterans honored in wreath ceremonies

Wreaths Across America ceremonies held at cemeteries nationwide

Author: Kumasi Aaron, Reporter, weekend anchor, kaaron@wjxt.com
Elizabeth Campbell, General assignment reporter, ecampbell@wjxt.com
Published On: Dec 14 2013 05:04:07 PM EST   Updated On: Dec 15 2013 07:51:48 AM EST
Wreaths pic
ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -

Hundreds of people filled St. Augustine National Cemetery to say thank you in a special way on Saturday as they laid wreaths at grave sites as a part of Wreaths Across America.

"It's sad. It's happy. It's proud," Kathy Hopkins said.

It was a mix of emotions for Hopkins as she laid wreaths at her parents headstones at St. Augustine National Cemetery.

Her father served in World War II, her husband in Vietnam. She and her grandchildren took part in Wreaths Around America to honor them and everyone who has served our country.

"I think you've connected. "You're just more connected to the military," Hopkins said. "It isn't so much the people that have passed away, it's just remembering everybody.

Veterans, their families and friends all came together to lay wreaths at each of the 1218 headstones at the cemetery Saturday morning.

Before hand, they honored each branch of the military, and Private First Class Mario Patruno.For him, the wreaths are in memory of the men he fought side by side with on D Day.

"I keep remembering my buddies and we've been a band of brothers," Patruno said. "And they're up there now. They're calling me. I'm coming."

Even the youngest took part. Nicole Buquet brought her twin son and daughter from Beaufort, South Carolina.It's something she's done for the last three years, in honor of her father who served in the army.

"That was just something I always took to heart," Buquet said. "He supported our country and went off to the wars and everything and I just want my kids to know that's what their grandfather did. And be proud of that."

People in St. Augustine were not alone in showing their respect and remembrance for veterans and their families. At noon on Saturday local time, wreath laying ceremonies just like this one took place at state an national cemeteries across the country.

The Veterans Council of St. Johns County worked to make the St. Augustine National Cemetery one happen. A small way to say thank you, to those most deserving.