The Tri-Cities region is known for supporting its veterans. A local chapter of a national group supports veterans of all wars and makes sure no one forgets those who sacrificed their lives and those who still haven’t come home.
This season, they are asking for help honoring those who are buried at the VA cemetery.
You often hear them before you see them – Rolling Thunder’s focus is honoring military members and keeping prisoners of war and those missing in action top of mind.
“It’s important to remember, and honor, and teach the public about veterans and the blank check that they wrote for our freedom,” said John Incontrera, sergeant-at-arms for the local chapter of Rolling Thunder. “Everybody who signs up basically puts their lives on the line so we can gather like this, and enjoy our families and freedoms they provide.”
Incontrera says $15 will buy a wreath that will be laid on the grave of a soldier buried at the VA. It’s easy to do online. Go to the local Rolling Thunder website, click on Wreaths Across America, and you can purchase a wreath for $15 to honor a specific military member or one you don’t know.
“We have 17,000 graves, with maybe 3,000 or 4,000 (wreaths bought),” he said. “We still got a long way to go, but I know that with the support of this community, we can definitely do that.”
A small price to pay, Incontrera says, to decorate the graves of our local military members.
“A lot of the veterans that are buried here are local, and they go back, way back, years and years and years,” Incontrera said. “We’ve been providing wreaths here for about seven years.”
A tradition he hopes to continue, and cover every grave at the VA.