QUEENSBURY — In a quiet, local ceremony that preceded Saturday’s international effort, four local veterans laid 20 wreaths at the markers for local veterans on a cold Friday morning after clearing snow away at Pine View Cemetery.
The wreaths were extras from the drive to get more than 11,000 wreaths for graves at the Gerald B.H. Solomon Saratoga National Cemetery as part of “Wreaths Across America,” which involves the laying of wreaths in all 50 states, abroad and at sea.
“We had extra wreaths, so we thought it would be right to put them here,” said Dan Nolin of the Patriot Guard and the American Legion Riders of Hudson Falls Post 574. “We should honor all the veterans we can.”
Nolin, Tony Garcia, Carl Fosco and Tom Burns, representing several local veterans groups, took turns laying wreaths, reading veterans’ names and saluting.
“Our mission is to remember, honor and teach,” said Nolin, who will be at the Saratota National Cemetery on Saturday with approximately 2,000 other volunteers.
Last summer, Nolin was challenged to dye his long beard red, white and blue to raise $5,000 for the wreaths.
“Instead, I raised $12,000,” he said.
Since he arranges to get wreaths donated locally each year, he had additional wreaths, which the group laid out Friday, including at a marker for Fort Ann resident Sgt. Lester Archer, a Medal of Honor recipient who previously had no marker. Archer was killed in action in the fall of 1864 at the battle of Fort Harrison in Virginia.