KNOXVILLE (WATE) – An annual tradition received a two-wheeled welcome to town.
Several East Tennessee motorcycle groups helped escort and unload wreaths for Wreaths Across America into Farragut. Every Christmas Wreaths Across the America helps put holiday wreaths on veteran’s graves.
Gallery: Wreaths Across America
Dozen of motorcycles groups including the American Legion Post 2, Patriot Guard Riders and Rolling Thunder groups, lined up to escort the truck into town and help unload the wreaths. Several of the motorcycle riders were veterans or had lost loved ones in the service.
It was the second year Bernice Koprince, a wreath coordinator for East Tennessee Veterans Cemetery participated in the ride. She lost her son two days after Christmas while he was serving in the military.
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“It’s an awesome experience, and it’s a very humbling and honoring experience to be able to bring these wreaths in and kind of bless them before they go to the cemetery,” said Koprince, a wreaths coordinator for East Tennessee Veteran’s Cemetery. “When I’m dead and gone I Want to make sure that someone is going to always be able to remember the cost of freedom and my son.”
Koprince dressed up in a Santa suit to bring some joy to the volunteers. She said holidays are tough for her after she lost her son. “When one of them is plucked out of your life your whole future changes forever don’t even realize that you had that future planned,” she said. “Every holiday time, because it does center around family, it does draw you back into the what if’s they were here still.”
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“It’s one of those things once you’ve done it once whether it’s placing wreaths or escorting them in you’ll always come back,” said DJ Hunley. “We have too many missions where we have to lay someone to rest, so this is kind of a great way to get a good feeling that we know is honoring the people we care about, with a few less tears than when we lay them to rest.”
D.J. Hunley, an American Legion rider, said he was trying not to tear up while volunteering to unload the wreaths. He said there are a lot of heroes in cemeteries and it means a lot to their families that volunteers place wreaths on their graves.
“That tag on each wreath it say today I place this wreath on the grave of an American hero. It just says it all,” said Sue Dauber with Rolling Thunder. “Our world is in such turmoil that we need to come together now.”
The wreaths will be placed on graves at either the Old East Tennessee State Veterans Cemetery on Lyons View Pike, the New East Tennessee State Veterans Cemetery on Governor John Sevier Highway or the Knoxville National Cemetery on Tyson Street near Old Gray Cemetery.