Veterans, volunteers save wreath ceremony after theft
With wreaths wrapped around their arms, volunteers and veterans walked through snowy rows of graves in the National Military Cemetery at Beechwood Cemetery in Ottawa, gently laying the handmade decorations in front of the headstones of men and women who served in the Canadian Armed Forces. It was a moving afternoon that almost didn’t happen.
Last week, 3,000 wreaths were stolen from a property where they were being stored. Volunteers worked to ensure the wreath-laying ceremony, which had been organized by a charity called Wreaths Across Canada, could go ahead. They remade thousands of wreaths and put the final touches on 2,000 of them Sunday morning.
Nick McCarthy, the vice president of Wreaths Across Canada and director of marketing for Beechwood Cemetery, said his organization learned last Monday that the wreaths had been stolen. “I think what people don’t realize is the military community is all about service. It’s all about giving oneself to something greater.
And I think that’s what it really was like,” he said of the volunteer effort to replenish the supply. “You have so many amazing people who wanted to see this event come back. It’s the first time since 2017 that we’re holding this event.”