Robert Perea, The Fernley Reporter
A crowd of about 2,000 came Saturday to place wreaths on the graves and in front of the columbarium at the Northern Nevada Veterans Cemetery to pay tribute to more than 8,000 veterans whose remains are interred there.
The annual event is commemorated by millions of Americans at more than 3,400 cemeteries across the country.
“Lying here before us at this cemetery and in cemeteries throughout this nation and around the world are men and women who gave their lives so that we can live in freedom and without fear,” said Darin Farr, public information officer for the Nevada Veterans Coalition, which hosts the annual Wreaths Across America event in Fernley.
“The reason for Wreaths Across America is to honor the sacrifices of those folks who went without holidays with their families,” Farr said. “We’re here to remember not their deaths, but their lives. Each wreath is a gift of appreciation from a grateful America.”
During the ceremony, the Nevada Veterans Coalition was presented with a pair of ceremonial checks, for $15,000 from the Fern 45 committee, which hosts an annual off-road poker run, and from Nevadans 4 Vets, which presented a check for $20,000.
“They almost make up half of what we need to raise,” Farr said. “$80,000 is what we raise every year to do this. That’s a huge kickoff.”
Farr said the Veterans Coalition is always thrilled about the large turnout the event gets, but said he was especially happy to see so many young people in attendance.
“That’s what the whole thing is about, it’s reminding the younger generation and children that this is what the price of freedom looks like,” he said.
The Veterans Coalition had put out a notice earlier in the week that it needed volunteers to help unload two truckloads of wreaths that were delivered to the cemetery Wednesday. Farr didn’t have a count of how many volunteers showed up, but said “They had the trucks unloaded in 45 minutes. It was fantastic.”