COLUMBIA FALLS – Every October Wreaths Across America welcomes an organization from Pennsylvania to remember fallen heroes.
On Saturday, For the Love of a Veteran made the trip up north to place dog tags on trees.
“They tip those every two years and make the wreaths for them that they lay on the graves so it comes full circle,” said Christine Waltz, the founder of For the Love of a Veteran.
For the Love of a Veteran sends packages to deployed troops every month until they return home. The organization also gives backpacks to homeless veterans.
“The driving force behind a mother, that’s also my driving force because my son, my whole family is military,” Waltz said.
“The year my son was in Afghanistan was the worst year of my life. That is why we started for the love of a veteran,” she said.
Last year Wreaths Across America surprised the organization with their own section of trees. Waltz said she’s encouraging people back home to tag the trees in Columbia Falls.
Wreaths Across America has over 10,000 tags hanging on trees.
The executive director said they’re from people who want the name of someone special to be mentioned and live on.
“We always say you die twice. The first time when your heart stops beating and you take your last breath but the last time you die is when your name is spoken for the very last time,” said Karen Worcester, the executive director of Wreaths Across America.
Emotions were high as the names of the veterans were read out loud before placing the dog tags on a branch.
Worcester said the trees are more than just saying and remembering the veteran’s name. She said it’s about realizing the sacrifices they’ve made for our freedom.
“What did they actually give up? The fact that they served and died is sacrifice but when you really look at the sacrifice of a life lived and all the things that we enjoy throughout our life,” said Worcester.
“That whole life is what they sacrificed and it was all done so we could have freedom all over the county,” she said.