Wreaths Across America Draws Hundreds

10:35 AM, Dec 15, 2013   |    comments
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Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- Remembering those who served our country in the spirit of the holidays brought hundreds together at Fort Jackson National Cemetery.

"It was a great honor and a privilege to have served in the military," Army veteran Tom Estridge said.

Veterans, family and active duty service members were among the crowd at the 5th Annual Wreaths Across America.

This event is routine for Estridge who's a World War II veteran.

"I've been here for five of them and enjoyed and appreciated the privilege to be here," he said.

The crowd braved the weather to lay Christmas wreaths nearly 2,500 graves.  

Although Estrdige was lucky enough to make it back alive from the Battle of the Bulge, he constantly visits grave 3-411.

"I'll be buried in the same place right beside her, thank goodness for that," Estridge said.

He met his wife Ilse while in Germany. 

She died four years ago.

"We had 55 years of wonderful marriage and I have a lot of wonderful memories. I have a great family and great grandchildren," he said.

Although it's a somber time, Estridge says decorating the tombstones is one of our essential duties as Americans.

"It's a wonderful feeling and honor to repay our respects for those who are out here," Estridge said.

More than 800 other cemeteries across the nation and the world also participated in this event.

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