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Remember, honor, teach: Wreaths Across Greensboro salutes fallen heroes

Wreaths Across Greensboro invites Triad families to place more than 1,100 wreaths on veterans' graves on Saturday, Dec. 17.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Their sacrifice must never go unnoticed.

Their service must become history -- passed down to generations.

Our veterans must never be forgotten, as their families prepare to spend another holiday season without them.

These objectives are why bringing the community together to honor our fallen heroes is another 'must' every Christmas.

Wreaths Across Greensboro will host its 10th-annual wreath-laying ceremony this Saturday, Dec. 17 at 11 a.m. at Forest Lawn Cemetery, where more than 1,100 Triad-area veterans are buried.


"Without those folks that have done the things they've done, we wouldn't have the privileges we have and the safety we have and the ability to complain like we can, and that's ok. The defense of those types of things was earned long ago, and there comes a responsibility with that, too," said Wreaths Across Greensboro co-founder Mike Lapeirre.

That responsibility is why Lapeirre and retired marine Wade Harvey founded the local chapter of Wreaths Across America back in 2013. Each year, they call on the community to sponsor and lay wreaths on veterans' graves, in hopes the act of reverence will inspire families to 'remember, honor and teach' (Wreaths Across America's mission statement).

"When we learned about it, we gravitated toward the teach, because we had young kids at the time, and we wanted them to understand what happens and the sacrifices people make and the beautiful place we live and how we're able to live because of them," Lapeirre explained.

RELATED: Despite pandemic changes, 250,000 wreaths laid at Arlington National Cemetery

In 2020, statewide COVID restrictions forced the cancelation of the public ceremony, but a small group of Caldwell Academy eighth-graders privately laid the wreaths. Then, in 2021, the event was back to full scale, and not even a rainstorm could wash away the profound patriotism of the day.

RELATED: Pandemic patriotism: Wreaths Across Greensboro adjusts to honor fallen heroes

The 2022 event is on schedule and open to anyone interested in saluting our heroes. There is parking available at the Country Park parking lot (at the Spencer Love Tennis Center), where shuttles will transport guests to the cemetery.

Though the event's impact is priceless, funding the effort is not, and Lapeirre noted inflation is driving up overall costs of hosting the event. Sponsoring a single wreath costs $15 online. As of Wednesday, Wreaths Across Greensboro still needed 37 wreaths sponsored. The organization's contribution goal is $20,000 in sponsorships and monetary donations to account for the wreaths, transportation fees and ceremony setup. Lapeirre said any leftover funding will roll toward the next year's program.

WFMY News 2's Amber Lake is honored to participate in the event this year and will introduce the keynote speaker -- Lapeirre's father Gary Lapeirre, who worked for the National Security Administration (NSA) for more than five decades and has befriended countless veterans. He has a compelling story to share, emphasizing the impact of the Wreaths mission. 

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