NEW BRITAIN - Wreaths Across America will return to New Britain Saturday at Fairview Cemetery where the wreaths will be displayed.
The public is invited to attend the ceremony, which will conclude the morning-long placement of nearly 1,400 holiday wreaths in the veterans sections of the cemetery at 120 Smalley St.
However, a change was made on Friday for the speaking portion of the event which will now be moved from the cemetery to noon indoors at St. Jean Baptiste Society, 209 Smalley St., across the street from Fairview Cemetery, due to the weather.
The ceremony will feature speeches by Mayor Erin Stewart and U.S. Army Reserve Lt. Col. Sean Connolly, a former commissioner of the state Department of Veterans Affairs; as well as the participation of military color guards; the national anthem, cadence and Taps performed by members of the New Britain High School Madrigal Singers and Marching Band; and the ceremonial placement of single remembrance wreaths honoring those who served in each branch of the service, as well as POWs/MIAs.
The Pledge of Allegiance will be led by 9-year-old Michael Ahern of Plainville, who gained notice this year as the founder of Scoops for Troops, a fundraising effort to send eight families of service-injured veterans to the Travis Mills Foundation Retreat in Maine.
The invocation will be offered by the Rev. David Koles, rector of Holy Trinity Orthodox Church.
Steve Parker, a WTIC radio personality and longtime veterans advocate, will serve as master of ceremonies.
This event will conclude a nearly year-long planning and fundraising effort to bring Wreaths Across America back to the city.
This year, planning and fundraising have focused on establishing this as an annual event. Through a variety of fundraising events and initiatives, the Planning Committee reached its $25,000 goal and the project is well positioned to continue in 2020 and beyond.
For more information on the local effort, follow Wreaths Across America New Britain Project on Facebook at facebook.com/wreathsfornewbritain.
Wreaths Across America is a national nonprofit organization founded in 2007 to continue and expand the annual wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery begun by Maine businessman Morrill Worcester in 1992. Its mission - Remember, Honor, Teach - is carried out in part by coordinating wreath-laying ceremonies at Arlington and at cemeteries and other locations in all 50 states. Two million volunteers take part annually.
For more information, visit www.wreathsacrossamerica.org .