BLYTHEVILLE, AR (KAIT) - Region 8 residents participated in a nationwide program to recognize American soldiers and veterans.
Wreaths Across America stopped in Blytheville today on the way to a wreath-laying service at Fayetteville National Cemetery.
A convoy of trucks carrying veterans and wreaths traveled westbound on East Main and Walnut Street towards Highway 18 to Walmart at 3 p.m. for a ceremony. Marilyn Ricard said she always takes time to salute men and women in the armed forces. "My husband and I are big believers in coming out and supporting the veterans anytime there's anything going on that involves them," she said.
Blytheville residents and civic leaders filled the Blytheville Walmart parking lot to wait for the Wreaths Across America truck. Former Mississippi County judge Steve McGuire is one of the United States Navy veterans who attended the ceremony. "We are all here to honor those who place their lives in jeopardy to protect the gift of freedom that the good Lord has given to this United States," he said.
Vietnam veteran Tom Wiktorek vividly remembers his time in the service. "Flying a helicopter in combat is an experience not very many people have had, but if you think of sitting in front of a picture window strapped into an armchair and having people standing out in the front yard and shooting at you, you'll have an idea of what it's like."
Wiktorek has a son who served as a military intelligence officer and a granddaughter who toured in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The last stop of the convoy before heading towards Fayetteville National Cemetery was at the Mississippi County Courthouse to lay wreaths on veteran memorials at the courthouse. "When the trucks depart here they're going to head out toward 18 toward Dell, and the Dell PD will pick it up and escort them to Manila. Manila PD will pick up and escort them to Leachville. Leachville will do the same thing to Monette and on and on,
The national Wreaths Across America ceremony is Saturday, December 10 at 12 p.m. at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.