Wreaths to be placed on graves of local veterans

By Tom Vogt, Columbian science, military & history reporter

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Wreaths will be placed at the graves of 100 veterans at Northwood Park cemetery north of Vancouver Saturday morning as part of a national observance.

The 10 a.m. ceremony will be part of the annual "Wreaths Across America" event.

Northwood Park Funeral Home, 16407 N.E. 15th Ave., is just south of the Clark County fairgrounds off Union Road, which runs parallel to the northbound lanes of Interstate 5.

The Northwood Park wreath-laying ceremony will be sponsored by the Civil Air Patrol's Fort Vancouver Composite Squadron.

"Wreaths Across America has worked closely with the Civil Air Patrol across the country," said Olin Brock, chaplain of the squadron.

Work started earlier this year, with fundraising to pay for wreaths.

Other participants will include Patriot Guard Riders, American Veteran Honor Guard and local Boy Scouts.

Administrator Bonnie Johnson said Northwood Park received 100 fresh evergreen wreaths Tuesday from the Wreaths Across America organization.

About 300 veterans are buried in the cemetery, so the wreaths will be distributed on the basis of most recent dates of death.

While Boy Scouts have volunteered to lay the wreaths, families attending the ceremony will be able to place wreaths at the graves of their loved ones, she said.

The Northwood Park ceremony is the only one in Southwest Washington, according to Wreaths Across America.

The program started with a wreath ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery and went nationwide in 2007. Last year, more than 320,000 wreaths were placed at 741 locations.

Tom Vogt: 360-735-4558; http://www.twitter.com/col_history;tom.vogt@columbian.com.