Dec. 15, 2011
Virginia Army Guard senior NCO lays wreaths at Arlington Cemetery
By Cotton Puryear
Virginia Department of Military Affairs
SANDSTON, Va. — Command Sgt. Maj. Carl Holcomb, the Virginia Army National Guard land component command sergeant major, joined thousands of people placing holiday wreaths at Arlington National Cemetery Dec. 10 to honor the service of fallen U. S. service members laid to rest there.
Command Sgt. Maj. Carl Holcomb, the Virginia Army National Guard land component command sergeant major, places a holiday wreath at Arlington National Cemetery Dec. 10 to honor the service of fallen U. S. service members laid to rest there. (Contributed photo)
"I, along with my wife Margie, attended and participated in this event because we both believed it was important to pay respect to all of the Soldiers and their families who have made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our freedom,” Holcomb said. “I can not adequately express in words what this event meant to both of us, and I can only say that a tremendous amount of pride and sense of renewed commitment to our military families was regenerated.”
The organization “Wreaths Across America” was responsible for the event. According to their web site, they coordinate “wreath laying ceremonies on the second Saturday of December at Arlington, as well as veterans’ cemeteries and other locations in all 50 states and beyond.” The goal of the group is to “spread our message about the importance of remembering our fallen heroes, honoring those who serve, and teaching our children about the sacrifices made by veterans and their families to preserve our freedoms.” They also coordinate recognition programs through the year.
“It is important that we as senior leaders honor those who have fallen in this manner to remind ourselves why we serve and to teach those who come after us the importance of freedom along with the cost and sacrifices that come along with it,” Holcomb said. “Even more important now, as we celebrate the 375th birthday of the National Guard and remember the events of 9/11 on its 10th anniversary, we must respect and preserve the legacy of those who have given all and continue to protect the freedoms and values upon which this great nation was founded."
The “Wreaths Across America” program is in its 20th year. Holcomb joined thousands of volunteers including family members, veterans, Scouting organizations and others in placing wreaths on the headstones. Holcomb placed wreaths on the graves of two Virginia National Guard Soldiers buried at the cemetery.