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Saturday, Oct. 22, 2016

Wreaths Across America event coming back to Blytheville

Sunday, December 9, 2012

A large crowd was gathered on the Blytheville Courthouse lawn during last year's Wreaths Across America event. The event will return to Blytheville Thursday afternoon.
Wreaths Across America, an organization focused on helping citizens gain awareness of the sacrifices U.S. troops and veterans have made to safeguard the country's freedom, will travel through Blytheville Thursday, en route to Fayetteville National Cemetery.

Four trailer trucks filled with more than 17,000 wreaths will arrive at Blytheville Walmart at 1 p.m. for a staging ceremony, followed by a Veterans Parade west on Main Street and Walnut Street to the Mississippi County Court House.

At about 2:15 p.m., community leaders will host a brief memorial service, followed by the laying of wreaths at the courthouse memorials. The parade will then continue on Walnut Street, and out of town, en route to Fayetteville.

"The generosity of people in the Blytheville area has been terrific," said local organizer Mark Brown of Blytheville Walmart. "Last year's event was meaningful to everyone who participated at whatever level, and it really made an impression on the Wreaths Across America organization."

This year, the local effort has included the purchase of 585 wreaths to adorn area veterans' graves. Birdeye State Veterans Cemetery in Birdeye, Oaklawn Cemetery in Jonesboro and Missouri State Veterans Cemetery in Bloomfield, Mo., are the closest participating cemeteries.

"Because of the Blytheville effort, Birdeye and Oaklawn will be 100 percent decorated," said Brown. "And we will cover most of the Bloomfield site."

Local sponsors have included area Walmarts, Nucor Steel Arkansas, Nucor-Yamato Steel, Nibco, Drew Bevill Lawn Care, Budweiser and Coca Cola.

The public is encouraged to attend the ceremony at the Court House, or to line the streets waving flags, as a greeting to the trucks as they pass.

© 2016 Blytheville Courier News