Members of the Reagan Rattler Football Team participated in Wreaths Across America this past Saturday, December 14, 2013
- Remember, Honor, and Teach is the official Mission Statement of Wreaths Across America
- In 2009 there were 694 wreaths laid at the headstones of the fallen heroes, this year, 16,070 wreaths were laid, almost 4000 of them grave specific
- Reagan Rattler athletes and other volunteers in our group assisted with placing nearly 400 wreaths in 4 sections of the cemetery
- The Rattlers sacrificed a few hours of their day in cold, windy weather for those who sacrificed their lives so that we all can be free
- There were approximately 2000 volunteers at the event.
- The athletes were present for the event ceremony and watched a 21 gun salute, watched our brave Marines fold a flag while they explained what each fold symbolized, listened to American themed songs, got to meet service members from the different branches of the armed forces, listened to Gold Star mothers talk about their loved ones who were killed in battle. The athletes were able to participate in the laying of wreaths at the headstones of fallen soldiers and veterans of past wars.
The athletes were asked to do a few things:
- To take a second after they laid the wreath to simply thank that person for his service.
- To take a photo of one of the headstones and attempt to research the hero on the internet and send an email to a family member to inform them that they laid a wreath at the headstone of their family member and to thank them for their service to our nation.
- Lastly, I asked the athletes to remember and honor all of our fallen heroes and all of our active duty and veterans including those who fought in the Revolutionary War to the current Gulf Wars, because without their service and sacrifice, our country would not be the country that we know and love today.
After the ceremony and the wreath laying was complete, the athletes took a photo at Alamo Sports Photography owner Phil Franzone’s father in-laws headstone. They watched as Larry Blaylock Jr. and Kelly Franzone (Wife of Rattler Photographer, Phil Franzone) laid a wreath at the headstone of their father Captain Larry Dean Blaylock, USAF. Wreaths Across America is a solemn experience but an educational one that the kids will not forget.
Phil Franzone, the organizer of the Rattler player’s wreath laying experience, explained that community service no matter how small or large is important to their community and builds character and leadership skills that they will need as adults.