On Wednesday morning, Resurrection Cemetery on Kentucky 54 was expecting delivery of 163 evergreen wreaths to be placed on veterans' graves on Saturday.

But when the truck arrived, there were 693 wreaths, Nathan Morris of Haley McGinnis Funeral Home & Crematory said.

"That's the exact number of veterans who are buried there," he said. "It's mind-blowing. We don't know how it happened. But it adds to the spirit of the season. Now, every veteran will get a wreath."

He said the funeral home has worked with Wreaths Across America for five or six years.

"It's my favorite project," Morris said. "My grandfather is one of the veterans buried there."

In 2018, nearly 1.8 million wreaths were placed on headstones at 1,640 participating cemeteries across the country, according to Wreaths Across America, the national organization.

In Owensboro, they'll be placed in several cemeteries on Saturday.

The Lt. Robert Moseley Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution will lay wreaths at 11 a.m. that day on the graves of about 600 veterans buried in The Field of Honor at Owensboro Memorial Gardens on Kentucky 144 and in smaller cemeteries across the region.

This will be the seventh year for that ceremony.

Gary Tunget, president of the chapter, said, "Last year, we had enough wreaths to place some in the Veterans Triangle in Elmwood Cemetery. Hopefully, we will this year, too."

And Civil Air Patrol cadets will be placing evergreen wreaths on the graves in Resurrection Cemetery at noon on Saturday for the second year.

Silas Deane, finance officer for the Owensboro Civil Air Patrol Squadron, said that as cadets place the wreaths on the headstones, they will call the name of the veteran and deliver a formal salute.

All the wreaths are paid for by donors.

At Owensboro Memorial Gardens, SAR members will dress in period uniforms from the colonial era through the Civil War, Tunget said.

The re-enactors will fire a rifle tribute to the deceased veterans, he said.

Cathy Mullins, a Gold Star mother whose son, Brandon Scott Mullins, was killed in Afghanistan, will again sing "I'll Be Home For Christmas," Tunget said.

"It was written during World War II," he said. "It's about a soldier saying he'll be home for Christmas — but only in his dreams."

Both ceremonies will go on regardless of the weather, organizers say.

Tunget said he's heard that in some northern cities the wreaths have already been placed because of snowstorms that have been predicted.

Wreaths Across America began in 1992 when Worcester Wreath Co. in Harrington, Maine, began placing wreaths on the headstones at Arlington National Cemetery.

The company had 5,000 wreaths left over from its Christmas sales that year.

So, it shipped them to Arlington to be placed on the headstones of veterans.

The movement began from those wreaths.

Wreaths Across America says it doesn't "decorate" headstones.

"We are honoring all veterans by placing live wreaths on the headstones of veterans," the organization's website says. "Fresh evergreens have been used for centuries as a symbol recognizing honor and as a living tribute renewed annually. We want people to see the tradition as a living memorial to veterans and their families."

Keith Lawrence, 270-691-7301, klawrence@messenger-inquirer.com

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