The City of Clarksville is hosting a wreath-laying ceremony for the service members resting at Riverview Cemetery during National Wreaths Across America Day on Saturday, Dec. 18 at 9 a.m. to remember and honor their legacy and service.
Angie Sykes, the Riverview Cemetery Manager, and Bill Harpel, the City's Military Liaison, are spearheading the annual observance for the City and the Wreaths Across America sponsorship drive - the event that generates wreath support for placement on National Wreaths Across America Day.
"This is the second year we've participated in this national event," said Sykes. "Last year, over 280 veteran graves received a wreath, which meant we ran a little short. So this year, we hope to get more support from the community so we can reach our goal of 330."
Riverview Cemetery was established on Feb. 23, 1800, on land donated by Valentine Sevier, a Revolutionary War Colonel, when Clarksville was no more than a village. In its beginnings, the cemetery was known as City Cemetery but was renamed on June 7, 1927, by Clarksvillians because it overlooked the Cumberland River.
Today, Riverview Cemetery is the oldest known public burial ground in the area, where men of all American wars are interred, including Revolutionary War soldier Robert Nelson and many pioneers and 19th-century citizens. One plot contains the reinterred remains of 125 Confederate soldiers. To this day, Riverview is still an active cemetery.
"Unbeknownst to many, we have so much history at Riverview, from all different branches of the military," added Sykes. "And with Clarksville being home to the second-largest Army installation in the U.S, I feel it's only appropriate that we honor the service members resting here while providing an opportunity for our community to participate in something that is both educational and meaningful."
National Wreaths Across America Day is held simultaneously across the country in more than 2,700 locations. This year's theme is "Live up to their legacy," which encourages everyone to look to the people and the families that have made the ultimate sacrifice to keep this country free. The event is open to the public. The local community, veterans, active-duty military, and their families are encouraged to attend and learn more about the organization's year-long mission to Remember, Honor, and Teach.
To sponsor a wreath for Riverview Cemetery or volunteer in this year's wreath placement, please visit www.wreathsacrossamerica.org/tn0273.
Wreaths Across America is the non-profit organization best known for placing wreaths on the headstones of the nation's fallen at Arlington National Cemetery. The organization places more than 2.2 million sponsored wreaths in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and on foreign soil. For more information on Wreaths Across America, visit https://wreathsacrossamerica.org/.