Following Wreaths Across America’s Nashville National Cemetery coordinator Annette Robeck’s appearance on local television talking about the upcoming Dec. 14 ceremony — concurrent with similar events around the country remembering fallen soldiers — caretakers at the cemetery got a bit of a surprise the morning of Thursday, Dec. 12, when they arrived to work.
The picture above tells the story — sometime the previous day, someone laid upward of 100 wreaths by graves near the cemetery entrance on Gallatin Rd. “We don’t know who did it,” says Robeck, but it’s appreciated all the same.
Since the Wreaths Across America program got under way in 2007 to honor the memory of veterans who sacrificed everything in service of the country, Robeck has been a participant. The Nashville events — with two ceremonies, one at the National Cemetery next-door Madison, Tenn., and another at the Middle Tennessee Veterans Cemetery on McCrory Lane — have grown considerably since then, she says. This year, upward of 400 wreaths were sponsored by a variety of donors at Nashville National, with another 900-plus slated for the Middle Tennessee location.
Participation in the event holds special significance for Robeck and her team members Mary Anne and Larry Keough, who help coordinate events at the Middle Tennessee cemetery location. Robeck’s daughter’s military unit will soon deploy, and on November 1 the Keoughs laid their son, Nick, to rest in the Middle Tennessee cemetery. “It will be a tough day for all of us,” says Robeck.
Robeck, herself a Class B CDL holder with a school-bus route (she’s employed by the Driving Ambition company), met TLD Logistics driver John Dyer this morning for the wreath unload at both locations. Dyer’s truckload of wreaths was approaching empty when we caught up with his Kenworth company truck at Nashville National. He’d been through snow in more northern parts over the preceding day, the load originating in Maine with drops in Trenton, Ohio; at the Northern Kentucky Veterans Cemetery in Williamstown; and several other Kentucky locations before a quick drop in Clarksville, Tenn., and on to the two final drops in Nashville.
This being Dyer’s first time participating in the event, he said, he was grateful for the opportunities he’s had to meet and speak with veterans along the way. Find some video from the drop at Nashville National, as well as a gallery of photos from the day, below.