HOLMDEL, N.J. (PIX11) – A holiday salute to those who’ve served and some who’ve made the ultimate sacrifice as New Jersey welcomes Wreaths Across America.
“Remember the service of our veterans, honor that service, and teach our children what the veterans have given to us,” said David “Mel” Russen, Jr., Treasurer of Wreaths Across America.
A 60-vehicle convoy made up of police officers, truckers and volunteers from all over the country stopped at the New Jersey Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Holmdel. It was a chance for the weary travelers heading to Washington, D.C., to refuel and reflect. Helping to welcome the convoy were local military advocate groups Rolling Thunder and Patriot Guard Riders.
“It’s to teach our children that we were basically one generation away from losing our freedom,” said Joseph Weaver, board member of Rolling Thunder. “It’s up to the next generation to carry on our freedom.”
“A lot of pride in the country, and people can’t forget,” said David Klein, State Captain of Patriot Guard Riders.
The convoy’s journey began Dec. 11 in Maine and since then. They’ve been on the road visiting states all over the northeast. Their trip culminates this weekend at Arlington National Cemetary.
“Arlington is 269,000 veterans,” said Russen, an Army veteran.
The national non-profit coordinates wreath-laying ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetary and more than 3,400 other sites at home and abroad. He said nearly three million wreaths would be laid upon veterans’ gravesites this weekend and that kids and adults who lay wreaths at their local site can take away valuable lessons.
“The values they have that are given to them through the sacrifices of our veterans,” said Russen.
He hopes this holiday season that, people will understand that freedom is a gift.
“We wouldn’t be here and have these opportunities if it wasn’t for their service,” said Russen.