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Thousands of veterans honored in Wreaths Across America event

Wreaths were placed on veterans graves at Great Lakes National Cemetery as a part of the Wreaths Across America event. (Photo: Jasmyn Durham/WEYI/WSMH)

It's a nationwide salute to our veterans every holiday season. Wreaths Across America honors and remembers veterans by placing wreaths on their graves.

It's an annual tradition that pulls hundreds of volunteers from all walks of life, including a Girl Scout troop from Sterling Heights, to thank those who are no longer with us for their service.

"We're putting wreaths on veterans because they're not here with their families for Christmas so we're putting wreaths on their graves," says girl scout Ashlynn.

For some it's honoring a fallen family member or a friend, but for others who volunteered, its just a simple way to say thank you.

"I have a close friend who was buried here, he was like my second dad so when I found out about this last year I knew I had to be a part of it and it is to see the community and the military and everybody come together to do this it's a lot of fun but it is very humbling, it's very sad and happy at the same time it was very heartwarming," says Gretchen Jablonski.

The more than 13,000 donated wreaths were driven to Michigan by Walmart volunteers.

"We've got 11 driver volunteers here and just coordinating bringing these in from Maine and across the country into the location and strategically working with wreaths across America and the cemetery," says Coldwater Walmart general transportation manager Ed Rodgers.

Walmart regional vice president Joe Wrinkler says they take pride in honoring our country's fallen heroes.

"Those that serve our country, some of them gave the ultimate sacrifice and just to be able to take some time out, volunteer its so humbling and our associates realize that our wonderful military we wouldn't be doing what we're doing without them. It's an extremely humbling experience," says Wrinkler

A humbling moment shared by almost all in attendance.

"I felt choked up at moments when you actually saw servicemen standing at full attention as they were laying some of the wreaths and so it's a great feeling to be able to be here today and you know witness this occurring and knowing that it isn't just happening just here in Holly Michigan, it is happening across the entire United States," says Kelley High.

The cemetery says their goal is to one day have a wreaths to place one for every veteran.

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