EAGLE POINT, Ore. -- 1,600 wreaths are now on headstones at the Eagle Point National Cemetery. Thursday morning was the 'Wreaths Across America' Ceremony that honors veterans in all branches of the military. It also honors Prisoners of War and those Missing in Action.
Patrick Allen, Pacific Northwest CEO and President of Old Guard Riders, said it's a way to remember, honor and teach about veterans.
"It's just kind of our way of saying thank you but also respecting and remembering them during the holidays," Allen said.
Allen said Thursday's ceremony was actually delayed a few days when the truck carrying the wreaths broke down in Utah.
Civil Air Patrol and Old Guard Riders helped coordinate the event.
The Worcester Wreath Company, through a campaign called Wreaths Across America, began donating holiday wreaths in tribute to Veterans laid to rest at VA’s national cemeteries and state Veterans cemeteries in 2006.
Allen said there were not as many wreaths purchased this year as there were last year, but he is hopeful to beat that number next year.
"There's 24,000 veterans at Eagle Point and it's growing, so those dollars help, they're $15 each and any help we can get would be appreciated," Allen said.
Thursday's ceremony also honored fallen veterans whose remains were never claimed.
"There's 20 to 35 every three months just here, the people who weren't claimed or didn't have family to pick their remains up," Allen said.
Mary Berlingeri and her great-grandson Bentley Becker heard about the ceremony happening and wanted to come to honor her brother who disappeared in World War II.
"We still remember him very, very much and now my great grandson knows about his great uncle," Berlingeri said.