Scores attended Wreaths Across America at the San Joaquin National Cemetery in Santa Nella on Saturday. More than 100 listened to prayers, music and speeches honoring the 35,000 veterans and spouses buried in the cemetery.
The seven memorials honoring the Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard and Merchant Marines as well as prisoners of war and those missing in action received wreaths.
Volunteers also placed 640 evergreen wreaths, decorated with a velvet red bow, around the cemetery. Organizers hope to place a wreath on every grave next year.
The Patriot Guard, a veteran motorcycle club, participated in the ceremony.
Wreaths Across America places the decoration on graves in all 50 states, including 24 national cemeteries. The effort began more than 20 years ago at Arlington National Cemetery.
The wreaths are $15 each and decorate the graves for about a month. To become a wreath sponsor, call Julia Nilos at (562) 706-5592.
-- Thaddeus Miller and Charles Guest
Thaddeus Miller and Charles Guest