GRAFTON, W.Va. – Wreaths Across America, along with many volunteers, unloaded a truck full of nearly 7,000 wreaths at the West Virginia National Cemetery at 9 a.m. on Dec. 10.

The wreaths were divided into multiple sections of the area. Out of the nearly 7,000 wreaths, 6,200 will stay at the WV National Cemetery, while the other 700 will go to the Grafton National Cemetery. Both cemeteries are the resting places of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.

A line was made as volunteers passed boxes of wreaths down to those waiting in the gravel. After receiving the boxes, they were emptied onto the ground into each section. The boxes were then folded up and put into volunteer trucks to be hauled away.

On Dec. 17, the WV National Cemetery will hold its wreath-laying ceremony at 12 p.m., afterwards, volunteers will go directly to the Grafton National Cemetery at 3 p.m. to perform another wreath-laying ceremony.

Cliff VanGilder, Wreaths Across America coordinator and Marine Corps veteran, spoke to a 12 News reporter about the importance of honoring veterans. He said, “I think it’s great to repay our price. We pay the price to the ones that paid the ultimate price, whether it was in combat, out of combat or years down the road when they come home. I think it’s all we… it’s all we can do, you know? To pay our respects to them and carry on their legacy. Their legacy means the most.”

This is the eighth year that the WV National Cemetery has been honored for Wreaths Across America. VanGilder mentioned that the mission does get harder and harder every year due to the increasing number of veterans dying each year. This year alone, he believes that the number rose by at least 400 people.

When they go to place wreaths in the graves, VanGilder said that they need to say the veteran’s name out loud. He believes that veterans are never truly gone until people stop saying their names.