FORT MITCHELL, AL (WTVM) – Our Military Matters segment this week is about an upcoming event in east Alabama.
It's the placing of Christmas wreaths on the graves of fallen veterans and their spouses at the National Cemetery in Fort Mitchell.
Jeffery Ellenberg is setting a headstone at the Fort Mitchell National Cemetery. It's his job to make sure the markers meet federal standards.
Ellenberg has done this a lot. Thousands of times since the cemetery opened in 1987.
Most of those buried at Fort Mitchell fought in either World War II, Korea or Vietnam. But there are some who fought in the war to end all wars, World War I.
It goes without saying that he and the others laid to rest here are deserving of a Christmas wreath.
They'll be put in place next month during the annual Wreaths Across America event.
But a lot of these headstones will go unadorned, simply because there aren't enough wreaths to go around.
A total of 2,000 have been purchased so far, which is way short of 8,500.
That is both a good and bad thing.
"You cannot complain about the number of wreaths that have been bought. It does a disservice to those who have purchased a wreath. But in a military community where there are so many retirees, where there are so many veterans, where there is a military post right next door, to not be able to put 8,500 wreaths at a cemetery just- it seems difficult for me to imagine," said Todd Newkirk, Fort Mitchell Cemetery Assistant Director.
Click here to make a donation to Wreaths Across America. Hurry, the ordering deadline is Thursday.
Wreaths are $15 each, and for every two sponsored, a third is donated for free thanks to the Auburn Composite Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol.
You can also call 1-877-385-9504, and press 5 at the options menu to sponsor a wreath. Tell the operator you'd like to sponsor a wreath for the Fort Mitchell National Cemetery location and provide them with the number AL0007 to get the 3 for 2 deal.