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NEWS | May 23, 2024

2024 Parade of Wreaths ceremony honors fallen heroes

By Jewaun Victor Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst Public Affairs

JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. – Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst hosted the 41st annual Parade of Wreaths at Pudgy Circle, May 23. Each year, the wreath laying ceremony is held in conjunction with Memorial Day to commemorate the ultimate sacrifice paid by service members and police officers, past and present. JB MDL personnel, the Major Thomas B. McGuire Memorial Foundation and the N.J. State Police worked together to make this event possible.

JB MDL has been home to the Parade of Wreaths since the first ceremony in 1983. During the annual event, military members and local community gather to witness the ceremonial placement of wreaths by service members from all branches and state police officers to memorialize the fallen. Service branches, joint base units, local government agencies, as well as various businesses throughout the local community donate 40 wreaths on average. While JB MDL hosts the event, the Major Thomas B. McGuire Foundation coordinates with local schools to oversee an essay contest and provide a children’s choir for the ceremony.

In addition to the laying of wreaths, the ceremony includes essay readings from the fifth and sixth grade contest winners, song selections by a choir from the North Hanover Township school district, the presentation of the colors, playing of “Taps” and firing of three rifle volleys. The ceremony is concluded with a N.J. state police officer providing a bag pipe solo of “Amazing Grace” and armed forces service songs.

As we move forward into the Memorial Day holiday weekend, the ceremony is a reminder that this is a time to reflect on the lives lost in service to our nation and show reverence for their sacrifice.

"Our debt to the heroic men and valiant women in the service of our country can never be repaid. They have earned our undying gratitude. America will never forget their sacrifices," said President Harry S. Truman.