Killeen: Thousands of wreaths placed on graves at veterans cemetery

KILLEEN, Texas (KWTX) Hundreds of Central Texans made their way to the Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery to lay wreaths on almost 8,000 gravesites – a tradition that’s gone on since 2007.

The Friends of the Central Texas Veterans Cemetery have taken on the task every year.

“It’s a moment when you come back and reflect upon the things you went through in the military with your brothers and sisters that are no longer here. A way to give respect back to those individuals as well," Marvin Downs, an Army veteran, told News 10.

The ceremony started with a message from LTG Paul Funk, the commanding general of III Corps at Fort Hood.

After the message, families and volunteers took on the task of making sure every gravesite was decorated with a holiday wreath.

“It was really touching. I never realized how many people who would just volunteer to just come out. Even if you don’t know them, it’s still good," Madyson Updyke said.

Naomi Roupe's husband is buried in Arlington. She participated in the wreath laying ceremony in memory of her husband.

“This gives me an opportunity to come out and support my community in doing this and laying a wreath at one of these monuments," Roupe said.

With each hug and prayer, there was another reminder to our veterans that they will never be forgotten.

“It’s awesome for us who have personal connections with those who are here to be able to lay a wreath and honor their service," Gen. Miles Brown said. "It’s very personal because every single one of them have stories, they have names, we remember them.”

The wreaths will stay on each gravesite through the holiday season.