Wreaths Across America comes full circle with Millsboro retirement ceremony

By Glenn Rolfe
Posted 1/19/22

MILLSBORO — For Patti Seaman, the trip from Camden to Millsboro for a Wreaths Across America retirement ceremony Tuesday had family ties.

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Wreaths Across America comes full circle with Millsboro retirement ceremony

Posted

MILLSBORO — For Patti Seaman, the trip from Camden to Millsboro for a Wreaths Across America retirement ceremony Tuesday had family ties.

Her son, Jason Lee Diehl, who served with the U.S. Army during Operation Iraqi Freedom and died in a motorcycle accident at age 29 in October 2015, is among the veterans buried there.

“That is why I am here,” said Ms. Seaman. “I come down every year to place (a wreath). And this is the third year I’ve done the retirement. It is very relaxing out here, even on a day like this.”

Ms. Seaman was among the estimated 70 volunteers who bundled up and joined Delaware Veterans Memorial Cemetery staff and several Delaware National Guard members Tuesday in the wreath retirement. It was the closing chapter of the successful 2021 Wreaths Across America campaign.

“Considering our numbers and the task at hand, I couldn’t have been happier,” said Teresa Townsend, the WAA location coordinator for the Millsboro cemetery.

The volunteers, some armed with rakes to expedite the decor’s removal, retrieved more than 3,500 wreaths that had blanketed every gravesite and columbarium since mid-December.

“It is very important to us,” said Dave Heffline, commander at AMVETS Post 2 in Long Neck. “There is nothing more important than the memory of the veterans. That’s why we are here. That’s what we do.”

Mr. Heffline was joined by several other Post 2 members.

“It has to be done, so our guys are here to do it,” he added.

Master Sgt. Waymon “Butch” Harmon also was on hand, representing the Delaware National Guard, many of whom have been deployed to hospitals and other prioritized locations under Gov. John Carney’s COVID-19 state of emergency.

“We’re few in numbers today. However, we’re still out there doing it,” said Sgt. Harmon. “Everybody has come together in the community to participate in a worthwhile event.”

He said he views the wreath retirement as more than just gathering the balsam and tossing it in a dumpster, provided by Stockley Materials.

“The retirement, it’s just as important as actually laying the wreaths,” said Sgt. Harmon. “We are still paying honor to these great men and women that gave the ultimate sacrifice. We are paying honor to them. We’re completing the mission.”

Wreaths Across America 2021 marked the third consecutive year that wreaths were placed at every grave and columbarium in the Millsboro location, thanks to family, community support and a sponsorship-match promotion.

“And that’s the way it should be. It is the last thing we can do for our fallen comrades,” said Mr. Heffline. “We appreciate all their effort, everything they have done for us. Without them, we wouldn’t have a country.”

Wreaths were taken to the Sussex Correctional Institution in Georgetown, where inmates will remove the greens from the metal frames, preparing both for recycling. The wreaths themselves are put back into nature as nutrients via Stockley Materials.

For information on National Wreaths Across America Day at the Delaware Veterans Memorial Cemetery, visit here.