Article and Photos by Chuck Seaver, South Lake Tablet

Volunteers gathered under cloudy and drizzly skies at Oak Hill Cemetery, 801 East Avenue, Clermont on Saturday, December 16th to honor those who have served our country and community.

Each year at 11:01 am, on the third Saturday of December, Wreaths Across America (WAA) area representatives gather to lay a fresh, live wreath at the site of each veteran who has served and has been laid to rest. The Oak Hill location includes members of the First Responder family such as police officers, firefighters, and paramedics.

The Oak Hill ceremony is composed of volunteers from area scouting groups, key clubs, the Clermont Battalion Sea Cadets, American Legion Post 55, and other civic organizations that come together to honor the 517 known veterans and first responders who are laid to rest there. WAA District Coordinator Kate Oyer covers many of Central Florida’s cemeteries. Organizing and implementing volunteer groups in each of Oyer’s thirteen locations is no easy task. Months of planning are required to ensure that each ceremony and location has an adequate number of wreaths and help to distribute the wreaths. Oyer organizes volunteer teams to “flag” the sites at each location the Friday before the ceremony.

A United States of America flag is placed on each site to allow quick recognition of the sites for volunteers on Saturday, the day of the ceremony.

What began in 1992 with a single trailer load of wreaths, decorated by volunteers and laid on the burial sites of fallen soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery, has become a national organization with over 4,000 participating locations in all fifty states. The project is anticipated to have more than two million volunteers and supporters who gather this December to “Remember the Fallen, honor those who serve, and teach the next generation the value of freedom.” This is the mission statement of the Wreaths Across America organization.  

​Visit for a full listing of site locations, sponsorship levels, and volunteer opportunities.
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