Branches placed earlier on the majority of the burial grounds at the rural Dixon site
DIXON — Hundreds of people came out early Saturday morning to lay wreaths at the graves in the Sacramento Valley National Cemetery.
The fog was thick but the green wreaths with red bows were a bright spot against the white headstones.
Covid has changed almost everything. This includes the laying of wreaths this year. The cemetery did not perform the usual official service for the Wreaths Across America project, but instead Frank Romo, president of the Sacramento Valley National Cemetery, spoke in a short presentation.
A display of honorary wreaths for each branch of service was placed on the stage.
This year was also different from previous years, with volunteers from the Remember-a-Vet Wreath Project placing branches on the majority of graves early. Wreaths Across America allowed people to place branches individually if they wanted a more private keepsake.
The last section available for placement on Saturday was small. The volunteers accomplished the task in a very short time.
Thomas Lee came with his daughter, son-in-law and two grandchildren. He said he was excited and took his granddaughter, Astrid Olsen, 5, by the hand to the first grave and showed her how to place the wreath. They read the soldier’s name aloud together.
“I have friends here, a brother and a fellow police officer here,” Lee said.
It was the family’s first visit to the cemetery, although daughter Megan Olsen and husband Brandon Olsen live in Dixon.
“I plan to be buried here myself one day,” Lee said. “I love this event because it pays tribute.”
His daughter Megan thought the weather was nice at the cemetery.
“They take such good care of it,” she said. “And they’re planning for another 40,000 people to be buried here. It’s amazing and kind of sad.
Shari Romo, treasurer of the Sacramento Valley National Cemetery, stood near boxes of wreaths waiting for people to arrive.
“It’s our first year back post-Covid and I’m surprised at how many people there are,” she said.
A long line of cars snaked down the driveway leading to the cemetery.
“Last year we didn’t have a ceremony because of Covid, but we did lay the wreaths,” she said.
Donations are taken throughout the year for Wreaths Across America and can be made to www.svncsc.org.