Fort Hill’s veterans get Christmas wreaths

By LARRY C. BOWERS Staff Writer
Posted 12/20/17

Following the Wreaths Across America program last Saturday at the National Cemetery in Chattanooga, local AmVets Post 13 had its own Wreaths Across Cleveland ceremony on Sunday …

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Fort Hill’s veterans get Christmas wreaths

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Following the Wreaths Across America program last Saturday at the National Cemetery in Chattanooga, local AmVets Post 13 had its own Wreaths Across Cleveland ceremony on Sunday afternoon.

Although not connected to the national program, local AmVet members are just as proud of their program after eight years. It is a casual placement of wreaths.

“About eight or nine years ago, we were discussing how we could recognized our former veterans at Christmastime,” said Daniel Koob, one of the veterans who founded the ritual in the veterans section of the city’s Fort Hill Cemetery.

Koob pointed out that the AmVets post was already placing U.S. flags on the veterans’ gravesites on Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Veterans Day. 

Those programs continue, as the Veterans Cemetery continues to be upgraded, with a new pavilion and aesthetics. More and more local veterans are now resting in the cemetery.

The AmVets’ wreath-laying program does not have a fancy name, as does Wreaths Across America, but it serves the same purpose — recognition of all Bradley County veterans who have passed and are laid to rest at Fort Hill.

There are also a number of spouses resting there, awaiting the company of their loved ones.

Some of the gravesites being decorated, although there is no head stone. Koob explained that these are mostly where wives of veterans are laid to rest, and the stones will be added when the veteran dies.

A delegation of around 10 to 12 AmVet members turned out Sunday to decorate the Veterans Cemetery with wreaths and ribbons. The wreaths were placed on a wooden cross, and a small hole was drilled in the top of the cross for a small flag.

“We put out around 210 wreaths this year, the most ever,”

said Koob during a recent discussion.

“We place the wreaths each year to call attention to these veterans who have answered their final roll call,” said Koob. “We feel this is the least we can do.”

Koob is currently vice commander of AmVets Chapter 13, under Commander Jim Johnson,

Also a member of Lodge 1944 of the Benevolent and Protective Order of the Elks, Koob is also Commander of the Tennessee American Veterans organization.

He is active in a number of community efforts of Cleveland and Bradley County  veterans, as well as the Elks Lodge.

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