MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — On Monday, friends and family members of fallen veterans honored their loved ones by placing holiday wreaths on each military grave.
For the last 11 years, Wreaths Across America has been a way to honor the fallen heroes of Alabama. This year, it comes after the death of Joshua Kaleb Watson of Enterprise, who died after a Saudi national opened fire at Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Florida.
During the ceremony, Gov. Kay Ivey joined Gold Star families as they remembered their loved ones.
“We can never fully repay those who have served in our military,” Ivey said.
Ivey mentioned Watson in her speech, whom she said died a hero.
“Despite his mortal wounds he was able to signal and get to the first reponders to give them the precise location of the perpetrator,” Ivey said.
Wreaths Across America is a nonprofit organization that began in 2006 as an extension of the Arlington National Cemetery Wreath Project. Starting Saturday, family members, friends, and volunteers will help adorn the graves at the Alabama National Cemetery in Montevallo, as well as other veterans’ graves statewide.
For Judy Woodall, whose husband Henry Aderholt died during the Vietnam war, the ceremony means something special.
“It’s an hour for me to be here to honor my husband and the other men who have died as a result of their service to this country,” Woodall said. “I just appreciate Alabama for their patriotism, other states aren’t as patriotic as we are.”
The wreath was placed in front of the Fallen Heroes Memorial inside the old Supreme Court chamber at the capitol. It will remain there throughout December.