Enterprise parade honors deceased, living veterans on National Wreaths Across America Day

ST. GEORGE — Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the National Wreaths Across America Day ceremony looked a little bit different in Enterprise Saturday morning. But that didn’t stop organizers of the local event from paying tribute to deceased and living veterans.

A Christmas wreath is placed on the grave of a deceased veteran in the Enterprise City Cemetery, Enterprise, Utah, Dec. 19, 2020 | Photo by Hollie Stark, St. George News

National Wreaths Across America Day is a coordinated wreath-laying effort, usually accompanied by a patriotic ceremony, at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington D.C. as well as cemeteries in all 50 states, at sea and abroad, according to information from the Wreaths Across America website.

In a typical year, a ceremony would be held at the cemetery featuring a patriotic message and the laying of wreaths on veterans’ graves. But in the absence of the ceremony, organizer Andrea Simpkins created a special parade featuring living veterans and community members.

The parade began at the American Legion Post 80 rodeo grounds where legion members, veterans and emergency personnel lined up in their vehicles before parading down 100 North.

The parade passed the cemetery silently in order to honor the 160 veterans buried in the Enterprise City Cemetery as well as eight veterans buried in a private family cemetery nearby.

After passing the cemetery, the parade turned celebratory with emergency vehicles blasting their sirens and horns and participating veterans throwing candy to community members who came to cheer along the route.

For Simpkins, who coordinated the effort along with members of American Legion Post 80, the tribute was personal.

Ceremonial wreaths representing each branch of the military and prisoners of war/missing in action hang across the entrance to the Enterprise City Cemetery, Enterprise, Utah, Dec. 19, 2020 | Photo by Hollie Stark, St. George News

“My dad is buried out here,” she said. “And I watched him come home from the war and I watched him with his buddies in the legion talk about the things that they went through.”

Lisk spoke of the veterans buried in the cemetery, many of whom, she said, were never given a proper honor.

“We have men who were killed in action in our cemetery that gave their lives for our country and they just were given no honor, they just laid here silent,” Simpkins said, adding that it was a huge honor to give them the dignity they deserve.

Wreaths were laid on the grave of each veteran as well as ceremonial wreaths placed to honor each branch of the military and prisoner of war/missing in action in the cemetery prior to the parade, after which the cemetery was opened for families to visit and pay tribute.

Across the nation and around the world, 1.7 million wreaths were placed at 2,557 participating locations.

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Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

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