PIQUA — On Dec. 16, 2017, the Jamieson & Yannucci Funeral Home, with the generosity of the G. William Hartzell Foundation, the Donnelly Donor Advised Fund both through the Piqua Community Foundation, and both the Zimmerman and Yannucci families, achieved the goal that was set the year prior in honoring each of the 375 veterans currently buried in all of the veteran’s sections of the Forest Hill Cemetery.
The mission began when Zimmerman took note of the little attention offered to the veterans’ sections dating back to World War I veterans. Zimmerman stated, “Every veteran buried in these sections should be honored for their service to our country, not just some of them. It is unfortunate that over the last few years, some of the older graves have been all but forgotten about.”
As a continuing designated partner and local representative with the Wreaths Across America organization, Zimmerman has again vowed to obtain funding to cover the costs. This year, Forest Hill Cemetery has determined that Zimmerman and his committee would be able to cover just those approximately 200 graves currently in the two veterans’ sections in the upper area of the cemetery. Zimmerman shared a poignant quote by Pierre Claeyssens (1909-2003): “To be killed in war is not the worst that can happen. To be lost is not the worst that can happen … to be forgotten is the worst.”
Karen Worcester, executive director of Wreaths Across America stated, “We encourage every volunteer who places a wreath on a veteran’s grave to say that veteran’s name aloud and take a moment to thank them for their service to our country. It’s a small act that goes a long way toward keeping the memory of our veterans alive. We are not here to ‘decorate graves.’ We’re here to remember not their deaths, but their lives.”
The date has been established as Dec. 15, 2018 this year, and with the help of local volunteers, those forgotten men and women will be honored.
We have Veterans Day in the fall and Memorial Day in the spring, but there are men and women sacrificing every day to preserve our freedoms, sustain our safety and aid in world matters. Many homes across our country have an empty space for their loved ones currently serving or have given the ultimate sacrifice for our country. The mission of Wreaths Across America to “Remember, Honor, and Teach” extends far beyond a single day of wreath laying, but honoring them in this way is a small gesture of our appreciation.
Local citizens are able to purchase individual wreaths for their own laying ceremony at the graves of their family members. Individuals may contact Benjamin Zimmerman at Jamieson & Yannucci Funeral Home (773-3161) to place an order for $15 each before Monday, Nov. 26 or visit www.wreathsacrossamerica.org.