DECEMBER 24, 2020 – Naval Medical Center Portsmouth’s (NMCP) Second Class Petty Officer Association (SCPOA) hosted a volunteer event for National Wreaths Across America Day on Dec. 19.
Volunteers laid wreaths at fallen veterans’ grave sites at Captain Ted Conaway Memorial Naval Cemetery on Naval Support Activity (NSA) Hampton Roads-Portsmouth Annex.
“In support of Wreaths Across America, we laid wreaths to remember and honor all veterans who have laid their life on the line for our country,” said Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Brandon Day, SCPOA volunteer coordinator.
Each December on National Wreaths Across America Day, wreath-laying ceremonies are coordinated at Arlington National Cemetery, as well as at more than 2,100 additional locations in all 50 U.S. states, at sea and abroad.
“We felt as a group, during the restrictions in place during the pandemic, that it is extremely important to maintain a sense of normality and maintain morale, while at the same time honoring our heritage and those who came before us to shape the Navy we are today,” said Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Blair Hess, SCPOA president.
The mission of Wreaths Across America is Remember, Honor and Teach. From the Revolutionary War to present day conflicts, the fallen veterans come from all backgrounds in life and placed their lives on the line.
“It was very humbling,” Day said. “Especially taking the time to read the names of each individual laid to rest in the cemetery. I feel proud to have the opportunity to honor those who have come before us in any way possible.”
This was the first time in recent years that the SCPOA led and coordinated the event.
“I would just like to thank all those who volunteered, NSA Hampton Roads for allowing us the honor of laying the wreaths, and our chain of command for supporting us in the execution of these events,” Hess said. “I feel privileged to be able to be a part of events like this. The things I truly care about are unique morale and welfare events that also highlight our traditions and heritage.”
As the U.S. Navy’s oldest, continuously-operating military hospital since 1830, Naval Medical Center Portsmouth proudly serves past and present military members and their families. The nationally-acclaimed, state-of-the-art medical center, along with the area’s 10 branch health and TRICARE Prime Clinics, provide care for the Hampton Roads area. The medical center also supports premier research and teaching programs designed to prepare new doctors, nurses and hospital corpsman for future roles in healing and wellness.
Story by Petty Officer 2nd Class Dylan Kinee
Naval Medical Center – Portsmouth