SOMERVILLE, NJ - The historic New Cemetery on South Bridge Street, the resting place of American soldiers dating back to the Civil War, will join with more than 2,400 other cemeteries nationwide to honor America's veterans on National Wreaths Across America Day,

The ceremony begins at noon Saturday Dec. 19,

This is the first year the cemetery in Somerville will participate in the holiday tradition, which began as a gesture of thanks that has grown into a national movement of volunteers coming together to remember the nation's fallen and honor their service, while also teaching the next generation about the sacrifices made for Americans to live freely.

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More than 2 million volunteers will come together across the country Saturday to place wreaths on the grave sites of America's veterans.

Sponsors of the Somerville event are American Legion Post 12 and the Somerville Elks Lodge 1068. More than 1,800 veterans' wreaths will be placed on the headstones of all local heroes buried there, ensuring that the individuals who served to protect the country's freedoms are not forgotten.

Those interested in volunteering or sponsoring a wreath in Somerville should visit wreathsacrossamerica.org/NJ0104.

"We are forever grateful for the thousands of supporters who dedicate their time and effort to fulfilling our mission on a local level," said Karen Worcester, executive director of Wreaths Across America. "These individuals and their communities know the value of remembering the fallen, honoring those who currently serve and teaching the next generation about the sacrifices made for our freedom every day, and without their continued support, Wreaths Across America would not exist."

National Wreaths Across America Day is a free community event open to all. Wreaths Across America is a nonprofit organization founded to continue and expand the annual wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery.

Wreaths Across America grew into a nationwide tradition after Morrill Worcester's Worcester Wreath Company in Harrington, Maine, had extra wreaths nearing the holiday season in 1992. Worcester decided to honor the veterans' service and sacrifice by placing the wreaths at their graves at Arlington National Cemetery. After a photo of the wreaths at graves drew national attention in 2005, the annual wreath-laying tradition expanded to locations around the U.S. and abroad.

Volunteers lay wreaths at veterans' graves every year and pronounce the name of each veteran at more than 2,400 locations nationwide. The Arlington National Cemetery event is typically the largest. Last year, volunteers placed 2.2 million wreaths on the headstones of veterans. The 2019 effort at Arlington National Cemetery drew more than 38,000 volunteers to place 254,000 wreaths.

Wreaths Across America has been active in central New Jersey for several years. 

The Wreaths Across America convoy, whose mission is “To Remember, Honor and Teach,” is again bringing balsam wreaths from Maine to be laid on veterans’ grave sites at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. In 2017, the convoy stopped in Somerset County, N.J. at Manville High School and the following year at Montgomery High School.

In 2018, Wreaths Across America presented the Somerset County Veterans Services office with a wreath that was placed at Veterans Memorial Plaza in Somerville alongside the Somerset County administration building on Grove Street.

Wreaths will also be placed on graves in Hillsborough at Sacred Heart Cemetery on Millstone-River Road; Holy Ghost Carpatho-Russian cemetery and Sts. Peter and Paul Orthodox Cemetery.under the auspices of the Wreaths Across America program. The three cemeteries are adjacent on Millstone-River Road, south of Central Jersey Regional Airport.