Thousands join in wreath laying ceremony at veterans cemetery - KXXV-TV News Channel 25 - Central Texas News and Weather for Waco, Temple, Killeen |


Thousands join in wreath laying ceremony at veterans cemetery


Seven years ago only about 12 people came to the Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery to lay Christmas wreaths, this year it was nearly four thousand.

People from across the country came to the ceremony to pay their respects to the fallen as well as ensure each tombstone had its own wreath.

For the past seven years the Friends of Central Texas State Cemetery organization has planed and organized the ceremony. Since the event started support has grown, this year donations and help ranged from Precious Memories in Temple to Conway Freight in Waco.

"The very first year there were maybe 12 of us out here and it was just like ‘we're gonna do this' and we just did it," said Jean Shine, president of Friends of Central Texas State Cemetery, "I went out a bought everything and we just did it and now we had probably 4,000 out here this year helping. We had about 400 total on the motorcyclist"

Shine says the cemetery in Killeen is the only one in the country where every single tombstone gets a wreath.

Family of the fallen to boy scout troops to churches helped lay the wreaths. Colleen Stearns along with the rest of her family of five was among those at the event.

"It's important our children understand the sacrifice of our Veterans and so we wanted to start off our holiday season remembering what they sacrificed for our freedoms," says Stearns. Her daughter Caitlyn also chimed in saying she wanted to come: "because there a soldier that died to protect us and we want to recognize them."

Stearns is currently stationed at Fort Hood with her husband. She says she is glad to be in a community that supports the troops and veterans.

For those unable to make it out the ceremony but still want to help Friends of the Central Texas State Cemetery can visit the group's website,

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