On Dec. 17, the Natrona County Republican Women (NCRW) are hosting a wreath-laying ceremony at three cemeteries across the county in honor of veterans.

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The wreaths will be laid at the Oregon Trail Veteran’s Cemetery at 10 a.m., followed by the Highland Cemetery at noon and the Memorial Gardens Cemetery at 1 p.m.

According to a Facebook post by the NCRW, they will be laying over 4,000 wreaths at the three cemeteries.

Marcia Neumiller, the NCRW media chairperson, said that they've been doing the event since 2017 and are planning on unloading all the wreaths on Wednesday and then transporting them to the Oregon Trail Veteran’s Cemetery.

Before the wreaths are laid, the Kelly Walsh High School's ROTC goes to the cemeteries to sweep up the area of any snow and clean off the gravestones.

In October, the NCRW held a fundraiser to afford the wreaths, the first one since 2019, as the last two years were canceled due to COVID-19.

Neumiller said that while they've invited the Wyoming Congressional delegation to the event, they don't know if they will show up, though last year Governor Mark Gordon did attend.

Kathy Thomas, the co-chair of the NCRW's Wreaths Across America committee, said that they were able to raise over $30,000 at their fundraiser in October, which will be used to buy the wreaths used in the ceremony.

This year, the NCRW has confirmed over a dozen groups will be in attendance, including groups like the Casper College Veterans and Rodeo Team, the Natrona County High School Student Council, Boys and Girls Scouts of Natrona County, the Elk Club, the American Legion, and the Casper Mountain Young Marines.

Neumiller said while holding back tears, that the ceremony is important to keep the memory of each veteran alive.

"The intent of Wreaths Across America is that there's a saying that says you die twice. The first time you die is when you leave our heavenly earth," Neumiller said. "Then the second time you die is the last time your name is spoken. So the point of the wreath-laying ceremony is that you get the wreath and you say their name, and then you lay the wreath on their grave so that they're not forgotten and they, oh my gosh, I'm sorry, it's intense. It's an intense ceremony but you need to say their names so that they're always remembered."


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