Iowa Department of Veterans Affairs executive director, Patrick Palmersheim, says the Iowa Veterans Cemetery will participate in the “Wreaths Across America” program again this year. Palmersheim says every state and national veterans cemetery takes part on December 11th at 11 a.m.
It’s a program that started 15 years ago at Arlington National Cemetery. Palmersheim says the Iowa cemetery got started with the program last year. Palmershiem says last year they had about 20 wreaths and this year his goal was to have a wreath on every grave site. He says donations from Casey’s, Prairie Meadows and a lot of others will allow them to have a wreath on every grave, and two if a veteran’s spouse is also buried there.
Palmershiem says around 687 veterans were buried in its first two years of operation of the cemetery. He says the number of burials continue to increase and they have taken that into account so they will have enough wreaths for the burials through December 11th.
Palmershiem says the cemetery has become an important place of remembrance, and the wreaths will add to the recognition given veterans. “Many people go to the cemetery on Veterans Day and Memorial Day, but I can tell ya, there’s people who visit those gravestones almost daily that have their loved ones out there,” Palmershiem says.
He says he sometimes opens the cemetery, and if he gets there after eight o’clock, there are people waiting to get in. “At the cemetery every day is Veterans day and every day is Memorial Day to honor veterans for their service and families for their service,” Palmershiem says.
The Iowa Veterans Cemetery is located off Interstate 80 near Adel.