|Assemblymember Mariko Yamada speaking at annual Wreaths Across American event commemorating the sacrifices of armed service members on Monday, December 10, 2012. From left to right: Donald B. Littlefield, chairman, Wreaths Across America, California State Society Sons of the American Revolution; Judy Onopchenko, First Vice Regent Anne Loucks Chapter, DAR; Assemblymember Mariko Yamada; Kay Ernst, coordinator Wreaths Across America.|
SACRAMENTO – Flanked by members of the Patriot Color Guard on the steps of the State Capitol, on Monday Assemblymember Mariko Yamada (D-Davis) joined the Daughters of the American Revolution, veterans and their families in dedicating a wreath to commemorate the sacrifice of armed service members.
“From the smallest town to the National Cemetery at Arlington, it’s a time for the families and friends of those lost to come together in a very solemn and beautiful holiday testament to their service,” Yamada said.
The ceremony was duplicated at statehouses across the country and at the U.S. Capitol Monday to inaugurate a week-long series of holiday events coordinated by Wreaths Across America (WAA), an organization with the mission of memorializing, honoring and teaching about the contributions of fallen service members, veterans and their families.
Yolanda Vega, a Gold Star Mother whose son, Senior Airman Jonathan Antonio Vega Yelner, was killed in Afghanistan in 2008, offered heartfelt gratitude for the commemoration.
“On behalf of the boys and girls - because they were boys and girls to us - I want to thank you,” she said. “We honor them because they honor us.”
A series of WAA events will culminate this Saturday in wreath laying ceremonies at military cemeteries nationwide, including Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia and the Sacramento Valley National Cemetery in Dixon.
Assemblymember Yamada, a longtime member of the Assembly Veterans Affairs Committee, and whose district is home to this national cemetery, has participated in the annual WAA events at the State Capitol since her first term in the Legislature.
“These events are both solemn and celebratory, and a reminder that we should be supporting veterans and their families every day,” Yamada said.
The wreath laying will take place at 9 a.m. this Saturday at the Sacramento Valley National Cemetery, 5810 Midway Road in Dixon. Attendees are encouraged to arrive early.