A remembrance tradition in which wreaths are laid at the graves of veterans made its way to Galt for the first time on Dec. 17 with Galt-Arno Cemetery’s participation in Wreaths Across America Day.

The ceremony began at 9 a.m., timed to coincide with other observances across the country, and it included the singing of the national anthem, a dove release and remarks by the Rev. Michael Dubé of Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church and by cemetery district Director Belinda Ellis.

“There are millions of Americans gathering under the banner of freedom to remember, honor and teach,” Ellis told those who gathered at Galt Cemetery on the foggy Saturday morning. “We are proud to be Americans that live in a free society made up of many walks of life. The freedoms that we enjoy have not come without a price. Lying here before us and in cemeteries throughout the nation are men and women who gave their lives so that we can live in freedom and without fear.”

Ellis expressed gratitude for the sacrifices of servicemembers and said that freedom needs to be actively protected.

Afterward, local military members and others placed wreaths around the cemetery’s veterans memorial, each symbolizing a different branch of the armed forces; a new wreath was added this year to represent the U.S. Space Force.

Then those gathered began taking wreaths to the graves of servicemembers at the cemetery, where they hung the wreaths around small wooden crosses. Following the event, Ellis visited another property in the cemetery district, Hicksville Cemetery on Arno Road, and laid wreaths at the veteran graves there.

The district well exceeded its goal of funding 150 wreaths for its inaugural Wreaths Across America ceremony, reaching 260 wreaths. However, that isn’t enough for all the veterans buried there. Ellis said she hopes to fund enough wreaths for every servicemember buried in the district by next year’s Wreaths Across America Day.