City prepares for private wreaths ceremony

In this Dec. 14, 2019, file photo, Mayor Chris Boswell, center, and other officials attend a Wreaths Across America ceremony at Harlingen’s Pendleton Park. (Maricela Rodriguez/Valley Morning Star)

HARLINGEN — Preparations are underway for this city’s annual holiday tribute that remembers the fallen and honors those who have served.

The City of Harlingen’s Veterans’ Memorial Project Committee and Veterans Advisory Board will have a small private Wreaths Across America (WAA) opening ceremony on Saturday, Dec. 19, in Pendleton Park.

There will be a ceremonial wreath placement at the rock with branch seals.

A presentation of colors will also be performed by a combined color guard from the Harlingen Police and Fire Departments.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the event will not be open to the public.

However, individuals are able to purchase remembrance wreaths they can pick up and place on the tombstone of their loved ones.

According to WAA location coordinator Lenore J. Combs, there will be a specially designed “Wreath Will-Call” location that will be carefully staffed at the Veterans Memorial at Pendleton Park on Dec. 19 between 8 a.m. and noon.

Each wreath costs $15. To purchase a wreath, visit www.harlingenveterans.com or contact Combs at LJCombs44@gmail.com or (956) 245-1276.

Wreaths must be ordered no later than Thursday, Nov. 26, for processing.

According to Combs, each remembrance wreath is a gift of appreciation to those who have served.

Each wreath is made of 10 live balsam bouquets that represent several qualities — faith, love, strength, honesty, humility, ambition, optimism, concern, pride and hope and dreams.

“Fresh evergreens have been used for centuries as a symbol of recognizing honor and as a living tribute renewed annually,” Combs stated in a press release. “We want to see our mission, this tradition, as a living memorial to our veterans and their families.”

According to Combs, the live evergreens symbolize longevity and endurance. The red ribbon represents great sacrifice. The forest scent represents purity and simplicity. Lastly, the wreaths’ circular shape represents eternity.

“We were unable to have any fundraisers this year. Consequently, personal contact and communication was hindered by COVID restrictions,” Combs stated. “Our available funds are severely affected and any donation would be most gratefully appreciated.”

ahernandez@valleystar.com