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A symbol of their sacrifices

By Kristina Jackson

FORT RILEY — As Christmas draws nearer, some members of the community took a moment to pay tribute to those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

Members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars as well as the Ladies Auxiliary and members of the Fort Riley and area communities placed wreaths at the graves of fallen soldiers in a ceremony at the Fort Riley Post Cemetery Saturday morning.

As part of the Wreaths Across America event, people came out to honor the fallen soldiers, veterans and those still fighting today.

“It shows that they still care,” said Linda Vann-Owens, president of the 4th District Ladies Auxiliary. “There’s a willingness to honor those we didn’t even know.”

This was the seventh-annual Wreaths Across America at Fort Riley. The national event took place simultaneously at 750 locations across the country. Its goal is to place a wreath at the grave of every soldier.

Prior to the laying of ceremonial wreaths for each branch of the military, Brig. Christopher Ghika, deputy commanding general for readiness for the 1st Infantry Division, said in remarks that he could not think of a better way to remember fallen soldiers.

“We may not know the stories of those who rest here, but we know their service deserves our gratitude,” Ghika said.

Vann-Owens said she fights through the cold to remember the soldiers. She said the holiday season offers an opportunity to remember even the saddest parts of life as well as those who have died.

“Like I told my children, some of these people froze to death,” she said. “So I will come out and freeze for a couple of hours to honor them.”

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