Thursday, April 24, 2014


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Honoring fallen veterans during the holiday season

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Honoring fallen veterans during the holiday season
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At Arlington Cemetery, tens of thousands of military men and women rest in peace. On Saturday, wreaths were placed on every headstone thanking them for their sacrifice.
This ceremony wasn't only done in Virginia. YNN's Cara Thomas tells us it happened at more than 900 cemeteries nationwide, including a few in the Mohawk Valley.

LEE, N.Y. -- On Saturday people took a moment to remember the thousands of men and women who won't be here this Christmas.

"It's the least we can do to honor all the veterans, 20 minutes in the coldness is nothing compared to what they endured," said Kay Mills, a daughter of a fallen veteran.

Mills knows that sacrifice well. Her father was drafted into the Army Air Corps to fight in World War II. Frank Donai was held captive in the Philippines for three and a half years and barely made it out alive.

"He went to hell and back during that stay, he didn't like to talk about it so I don't have a lot of stories but he went through a lot," said said.

Donai died in 2012. It's men and women like him who were honored on Saturday for Wreathes Across America Day. It's an initiative that began in 1992 when a man from Maine sent extra wreaths to Arlington to be placed on veterans' graves. Since then it has continued to grow.

"The event is one that is occurring in 900 cemeteries all around the nation. It started in Arlington and today at Arlington they're placing approximately 25,000 wreaths," said Jim Martinez, a retired Air Force Chaplin.

Three communities in the Mohawk Valley also paid their respects. Community members of all ages from Rome, Lee, and Westernville gathered at their local cemeteries. In total, about 800 wreaths were donated to be placed on veterans graves.

Mills said, "It really looks nice to see them all, I knew there was a lot of veterans but now that all the wreaths are out there's a lot here."

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