HOUSTON - Every year on a Saturday in December, wreaths are placed on the graves of veterans in more than 600 cemeteries nationwide as part of the Wreaths Across America.
Volunteers do the work, while corporations and private individuals donate the money for the event.
A boy in elementary school started the event here in Houston several years after he discovered that Houston National Cemetery was not included in Wreaths Across America campaign.
Alex DeMasi, who is now an 11 and in the sixth grade, organized the local event with his parents’ support.
“I started all this and it’s not very hard,” DeMasi said. “You just figure out a way to do it. Grab a couple of your friends and boom.”
Since a kid started this, it seems fitting that the focus of the event is about giving young people a history lesson.
“Well this is my first time here so it’s kind of hard to explain,” Elijah Sugg, a Boy Scout, said, when asked what he learned, “but I learned that everyone comes out here and respects their family and other people’s graves.”
“It is pretty sad seeing everybody die and...memories of everybody else. It’s sad,” teenager Jashla Soza said.
“I think that...a lot of people served our country and...saved our lives,” young Jordyn Houston said as she prepared to place a wreath on a veteran’s grave.
So this year, as in years past, young people learned that freedom is never free.
And they saw that remembering can be hard.
“It’s just important to honor them. We miss them so much,” Chandra Remmert, a mom, said choking back tears.