Thursday, October 23, 2014

Laying DC wreath a ‘surreal’ moment

By The Herald Staff | 6/2/2014

An Ottawa woman who was selected to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier during Memorial Day ceremonies at Arlington Cemetery in Washington, D.C., said she will cherish the experience for the rest of her life.

Sherry Wright-Anderson, Ottawa resident and longtime champion of veterans, was part of an Associates of Vietnam Veterans of America and Vietnam Veterans of America contingent that took part in the annual Memorial Day ceremony at the national cemetery.

An Ottawa woman who was selected to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier during Memorial Day ceremonies at Arlington Cemetery in Washington, D.C., said she will cherish the experience for the rest of her life.

Sherry Wright-Anderson, Ottawa resident and longtime champion of veterans, was part of an Associates of Vietnam Veterans of America and Vietnam Veterans of America contingent that took part in the annual Memorial Day ceremony at the national cemetery.

“President Obama gave a message at the [Memorial] Amphitheater before coming out to lay the wreath, and after he laid the wreath, he left,” Wright-Anderson wrote in an email recounting the eventful day. “Then Sharon Hobbs, the national AVVA president and I laid the AVVA wreath on the tomb. You march out, do a half turn and face the guard and hand the wreath to the guard. You have to make sure you are in a certain place in front of the guard — he is not to move from his position at all, so you have to make sure you are close enough to reach him.”

Wright-Anderson is national regional director of Associates of Vietnam Veterans of America and has been a longtime member of Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 912 of Ottawa.

“We watched the changing of the guard several times that morning,” Wright-Anderson said. “We were told that it was a very prestigious honor and only the elite selected national organizations were allowed to lay the wreath.”

Wright-Anderson was instrumental in establishing the Franklin County War Memorial on the Franklin County Courthouse grounds in downtown Ottawa, and for the past 20 years she has served as director of the community’s annual Veterans Day parade, stepping down from that role last fall.

“It is a surreal experience and awesome to stand at attention and face the tomb, and remembering all who have paid the ultimate price for our freedom, and for all of our veterans,” Wright-Anderson said of the memorial Day ceremony. “It was a wonderful and meaningful experience that I will never forget. I am so thankful for living in our Franklin County community. We are surely blessed to live here.”

While in Washington, Wright-Anderson participated in several other activities, she said.

Saturday and Sunday, Wright-Anderson worked at the VVA/AVVA tent as part of the Memorial Day activities in the nation’s capital, handing out Agent Orange information packets, flyers and other information to veterans and their families, she said.

“We took pictures of the World War II, Vietnam, Korean and Lincoln memorials,” Wright-Anderson, who was accompanied on the trip by her husband, Dennis Anderson, said. “Saturday, [there was a] 3 1/2-hour parade of just motorcycles — the workers said there were around 350,000 motorcycles in the parade on Constitutional Avenue, right by the Veterans Memorial.”

comments powered by Disqus