EXETER, R.I. (WPRI) — On Saturday 250,000 wreaths were placed on grave sites at Arlington National Cemetery – it’s part of the National Wreaths Across America Day.
A smaller, yet still impactful, ceremony was held at Rhode Island Veterans’ Memorial Cemetery.
Here, nearly 2,500 wreaths were laid out according to Kasim Yarn, Director of Veterans Affairs for Rhode Island.
“It’s truly a blessing to know that I live in a state where our community can come together and honor America’s heroes,” he said.
An emotional ceremony, names were read aloud, and wreaths were placed on a stand for those who’ve fallen, followed by a salute.
Ponaganset High School teacher Michael Calenda was among those who spoke at the ceremony. He told the audience of a few hundred people the mission of Wreaths Across America: Remember, honor, and teach.
Teach is one of the more important aspects. It’s a method this social studies teacher utilizes in his classroom.
“We bring veterans from World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Operation Enduring Iraqi Freedom into the classroom.”
Calenda was featured Walt Buteau’s Street Stories segment.
This way of teaching allows his students to experience first-hand, history in a way that can’t be taught through a textbook.
An experience Director Yarn appreciates, “…to honor our service members. And we teach our little ones to respect them and learn the true sacrifice that freedom isn’t free.”